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Arizona General Stream Adjudication Bulletin
Vol. 21, No. 3
September-December 2013

Welcome to the Arizona General Stream Adjudication Bulletin

The Office of the Special Master publishes the Bulletin three times a year to provide information about proceedings in the Gila River Adjudication and the Little Colorado River Adjudication.

Departments:

Calendar
Archive

Editor: Barbara K. Brown
Office of the Special Master
Maricopa Superior Court
Central Court Building 5B
201 West Jefferson
Phoenix, AZ 85003-2205
Tel. 602-372-4115

The Bulletin relies on links so the entire document is available to our readers. Always check our What's New page for up-to-date notices and documents.

Little Colorado River Adjudication

In re Hopi Tribe Priority: On April 24, 2013, the Special Master filed a report with the Court concerning the priorities of water rights on the Hopi Indian Reservation. The Court set a hearing on January 17, 2014, to consider the objections and comments filed by several parties. The Court allowed the Yavapai-Apache Nation and Pascua Yaqui Tribe to participate in the hearing as ďfriends of the Court.Ē The issue raised by these tribes concerns the reportís findings on the priority of water rights for the area known as Moenkopi Island.

Gila River Adjudication

San Pedro River Watershed Contested Cases on Federal Reserved Water Rights: Two motions have been filed that involve the continuing litigation of the four current contested cases in this watershed. On October 24, 2013, the United States filed with the Court a Motion for, and Memorandum in Support of, a Stay of Proceedings in the four contested cases in the San Pedro River Watershed that involve non-Indian federal reserved water rights (Stay Motion). The cases are In re San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, In re Fort Huachuca, In re Redfield Canyon Wilderness Area, and In re Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness Area. The motion raises legal arguments based on lack of compliance with the adjudication statutes, standing of certain parties to participate in these cases, and the Courtís jurisdiction to determine water rights absent resolution of subflow issues.

The Stay Motion requests the Court to stay all contested case proceedings until the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) completes the Subflow Report for the watershed, the Court approves ADWRís identification of the subflow zone, and ADWR supplements the 1991 Final Hydrographic Survey Report for the San Pedro River Watershed to comply with the requirements of A.R.S. ß 45-256. Arizona Public Service Company; ASARCO LLC; Franklin Irrigation District; Freeport-McMoRan Corporation; Gila Valley Irrigation District; Salt River Project (SRP); Yavapai-Apache Nation; and jointly the Bella Vista Water Co., Inc., Pueblo Del Sol Water Company, and City of Sierra Vista (Sierra Vista Parties) filed responses to the motion. A reply from the United States is due on January 10, 2014.

On November 6, 2013, Freeport-McMoRan filed a Motion for Immediate Transfer of Contested Cases to the Trial Court. The motion requests that the Court immediately assume all further litigation of the four cases involving non-Indian federal reserved water rights in order to expedite the adjudication. SRP supports the motion and has submitted proposals for the transfer and subsequent proceedings in these cases. The United States and the Sierra Vista Parties oppose the motion. The time to file a reply has not expired.

In re San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area: This case is addressing quantification and land boundary issues. On October 17, 2013, the Special Master decided two issues. He determined that the quantity of water needed to fulfill the purposes of the conservation area is not subject to the standard of minimal need. The applicable standard in this case is a quantity of water sufficient to fulfill the purposes of the conservation area. Resolution of this issue turned on the interpretation given to the Congressional legislation that established the conservation area in 1988. Second, the Special Master found that it is necessary to determine the quantity of unappropriated water available for use as of the dates of reservation, but it is not required to complete this process prior to quantifying the reserved water right for the conservation area. Determining the quantity of unappropriated water available on the date of a federal reservation is necessary to establish the existence of a reserved water right.

On November 27, 2013, the United States filed with the Special Master a Motion to Suspend Schedule and Request for Expedited Consideration. The motion requests that the Court suspend the litigation schedule and all deadlines in this case until a final ruling is made on the United Statesí motion to stay all proceedings. The motion does not raise the legal arguments made in the stay motion but argues that a suspension is warranted because the scope of the Courtís jurisdiction is in question.

On December 13, 2013, the Special Master transferred this motion to the Court for ruling. The Special Master found that transferring the motion to the Court will preclude the possibility of conflicting rulings and disruptive consequences and should expedite the resolution of all the motions that have been filed regarding the future direction of this case and the Gila River Adjudication. The Special Master noted that the Court has expressed its willingness to assume this case.

In re Fort Huachuca: This case is addressing quantification issues. On September 11, 2013, upon a joint stipulation, the Special Master issued a protective order concerning the ongoing discovery process between the United States and Freeport-McMoRan Corporation. Discovery involves a large volume of electronically stored information whose completion has been delayed for various reasons. It is anticipated that this matter will proceed to an evidentiary hearing on quantification.

On November 13, 2013, the United States filed with the Special Master a Motion for a Protective Order from all discovery, including the production of electronically stored information and other documents, submission of expert reports, and deposition of witnesses, until a final ruling is made on the United Statesí motion to stay all proceedings. The motion does not raise the legal arguments made in the stay motion. It is argued that a protective order should be granted until the stay motion is resolved in order to avoid an undue burden and expense on the United States as other parties could possibly be removed as litigants in this case. Freeport-McMoRan Corporation filed a response opposing the protective motion.

On November 27, 2013, the United States filed with the Special Master a Motion to Suspend Schedule and Request for Expedited Consideration. The motion requests that the Court suspend the litigation schedule and all deadlines in this case until a final ruling is made on the United Statesí motion to stay all proceedings. The motion does not raise the legal arguments made in the stay motion but argues that a suspension is warranted because the scope of the Courtís jurisdiction is in question.

On December 13, 2013, the Special Master transferred to the Court both the motion for a protective order and the motion to suspend schedule. The Special Master found that transferring the motions to the Court will preclude the possibility of conflicting rulings and disruptive consequences and should expedite the resolution of all the motions that have been filed regarding the future direction of this case and the Gila River Adjudication. The Special Master noted that the Court has expressed its willingness to assume this case.

In re PWR 107 Claims: The parties were unable to meet the prior deadline for submitting a possible settlement agreement in what have been protracted negotiations. On December 2, 2013, the Special Master requested a status report on settlement efforts.

In re Redfield Canyon Wilderness Area: This case is considering seven issues designated by the Special Master for initial briefing. The issues address the federal reserved water rights claims of the United States for the wilderness area. Last month, the United States and Salt River Project filed motions for summary judgment, and the Arizona State Land Department filed a position statement. The Special Master allowed the United States to file its motion one day late.

On November 27, 2013, the United States filed with the Special Master a Motion to Suspend Schedule and Request for Expedited Consideration. The motion requests that the Court suspend the litigation schedule and all deadlines in this case until a final ruling is made on the United Statesí motion to stay all proceedings. The motion does not raise the legal arguments made in the stay motion but argues that a suspension is warranted because the scope of the Courtís jurisdiction is in question.

On December 13, 2013, the Special Master transferred this motion to the Court for ruling. The Special Master found that transferring the motion to the Court will preclude the possibility of conflicting rulings and disruptive consequences and should expedite the resolution of all the motions that have been filed regarding the future direction of this case and the Gila River Adjudication. The Special Master noted that the Court has expressed its willingness to assume this case.

In re Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness Area: This case is also considering quantification issues. On September 19, 2013, upon a joint stipulation, the Special Master issued a protective order involving the Salt River Project, Freeport-McMoRan Corporation, and Dr. Peter N. Reinthal. The order concerns the discovery and use of documentation of Dr. Reinthalís research on aquatic resources related to Aravaipa Canyon and Aravaipa Creek. It is anticipated that this matter will proceed to an evidentiary hearing on quantification.

On November 13, 2013, the United States filed with the Special Master a Motion for a Protective Order from all discovery, including the deposition of witnesses, until a final ruling is made on the United Statesí motion to stay all proceedings. The motion does not raise the legal arguments made in the stay motion. It is argued that a protective order should be granted until the stay motion is resolved in order to avoid an undue burden and expense on the United States as other parties could possibly be removed as litigants in this case. Freeport-McMoRan Corporation filed a response opposing the protective motion.

On November 27, 2013, the United States filed with the Special Master a Motion to Suspend Schedule and Request for Expedited Consideration. The motion requests that the Court suspend the litigation schedule and all deadlines in this case until a final ruling is made on the United Statesí motion to stay all proceedings. The motion does not raise the legal arguments made in the stay motion but argues that a suspension is warranted because the scope of the Courtís jurisdiction is in question.

On December 13, 2013, the Special Master transferred to the Court both the motion for a protective order and the motion to suspend schedule. The Special Master found that transferring the motions to the Court will preclude the possibility of conflicting rulings and disruptive consequences and should expedite the resolution of all the motions that have been filed regarding the future direction of this case and the Gila River Adjudication. The Special Master noted that the Court has expressed its willingness to assume this case.

In re Powers Garden Administrative Site: The parties in this case executed a stipulation and two proposed abstracts of water rights resolving the objections made to the reserved water rights claims of the United States. On September 11, 2013, the Special Master filed his report and lodged a proposed decree recommending the approval of the stipulation and abstracts of federal reserved water rights set forth in the report. No objections were filed to the Special Masterís report. The Court is considering the report and proposed decree. The Court may adopt or affirm, modify, wholly or partly reject or reverse, or resubmit the report to the Special Master with instructions.

In re Applications of Salt River Project for Injunctive Relief: These matters involve applications for injunctive relief filed by the Salt River Project (SRP) against several water users in the Verde River Watershed. SRP filed a motion for summary judgment. In the matters involving Respondents Linda S. and Paul R. Robinson and Chester-Campbell, L.L.C., upon the request of the parties, the Court extended the date for respondents to answer the motion to February 24, 2014. These parties continue to discuss a possible mutual resolution.

Calendar

Link here to the calendar of proceedings.

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