California Court of Appeal

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City of Santa Maria v. Adam, H032750

In a water rights dispute over the groundwater contained in the Santa Maria Valley Groundwater Basin, the judgment of the trial court is: 1) affirmed as to its ruling in approving the physical solution proposed by the stipulating parties, as the present existence of a water shortage is not a prerequisite to imposition of a physical solution; 2) affirmed as to the finding that defendants have perfected prescriptive rights, giving these public water producers a prior right to a specified volume of groundwater in the event of a future water shortage; 3) reversed as to the court's rejection of plaintiffs' quiet title claims as plaintiffs are entitled to a judgment declaring their overlying rights to be prior to all apppropriative rights in the native groundwater, less the volume to which defendants are entitled to their prescriptive rights; and 4) affirmed as to the court's approval of the stipulating parties' allocation of return flows and salvaged water, but must be clarified to insure that defendants' priority right to the salvaged water does not exceed the amount of water actually saved.

Appellate Information

  • Decided 11/21/2012
  • Published 11/21/2012


  • Premo


  • California Court of Appeal


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