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United States v. Orr Water Ditch Co.

Citation: 42 ELR 20252
No. 3-73-cv-00023, (D. Nev., 11/26/2012) (George, J.)

A district court upheld a Nevada water engineer ruling allowing a city to change the manner and place of use of surface water rights. A Native American tribe filed a petition challenging the decision, arguing that the ruling was against the public interest because the groundwater underlying the city is overappropriated. The tribe also argued that the surface water rights should not be committed to new development until the engineer determines that sufficient water is available to satisfy the city's existing demands and commitments. But because the ruling concerned surface water rights, not groundwater rights, and because the engineer correctly applied the criteria that pertain to change applications for surface water rights, the tribe's arguments lacked merit and the petition was dismissed.