U.S. supports Tribe's water case
On May 13, 2014, the United States Department of Justice filed a motion with the U.S. District Court seeking to file a Complaint in support of Agua Caliente and against Desert Water Agency and Coachella Valley Water District. This motion is significant because it provides further proof that Agua Caliente's claims are well-founded and that the serious matters Agua Caliente raises in this case need to be addressed.
"This is a significant step in our fight to protect the future of Coachella Valley's water supply," said Chairman Jeff L. Grubbe, of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. "For more than 20 years, the Tribe and the United States have raised concerns about the overdraft of the Valley's aquifer and degradation of the drinking water. We are working to ensure the Valley has a clean, abundant drinking water supply for generations. This move by the United States further proves the value and importance of our case against the water districts."
In the Complaint, the United States asks the Court to declare that the United States holds, on behalf of Agua Caliente, federally reserved rights to groundwater in sufficient quantities "to foster promote, and fulfill the purposes for which the Reservation was set aside." The United States also seeks to stop the water districts from overdrafting the groundwater in the Coachella Valley because it injures and infringes upon the "senior reserved rights of the Tribe."
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