United States Ninth Circuit

Reset A A Font size: Print

Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians v. Coachella Water Valley Dist., 15-55896

In a water rights dispute between the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and the United States, the district court's partial summary judgment in favor of the Tribe and the Government, which declared that the United States impliedly reserved appurtenant water sources, including groundwater, when it created the Tribe's reservation in California’s arid Coachella Valley, is affirmed where: 1) Winters v. US, 207 U.S. 564 (1908), which held that federal reserved water rights are directly applicable to Indian reservations, does not distinguish between surface water and groundwater; 2) the U.S., in establishing the Agua Caliente reservation, impliedly reserved water; and 3) because the US intended to reserve water when it established a home for the Tribe, the district court did not err in determining that the government reserved appurtenant water sources -- including groundwater -- when it created the Tribe’s reservation in the Coachella Valley.

Appellate Information

  • Decided
  • Published 2017/03/07




  • United States Ninth Circuit