Vol. 22, No. 2
May-August 2014

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.



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 Amended and Restated White Mountain Apache Tribe Water Rights Quantification Agreement: On April 29, 2014, the Court found it appropriate to commence special proceedings regarding approval of the Amended and Restated White Mountain Apache Tribe Water Rights Quantification Agreement dated as of November 1, 2012. The agreement permanently resolves the water rights claims of the White Mountain Apache Tribe and its members.

The special proceedings will involve both adjudications and will be conducted in accordance with orders of the Arizona Supreme Court entered in the Gila River Adjudication and Little Colorado River Adjudication.

In May, the White Mountain Apache Tribe mailed by first-class mail 61,312 notices to claimants in the Gila River Adjudication and 7,955 notices to claimants in the Little Colorado River Adjudication informing them of the proceedings. The notices were also published in local newspapers as directed by the Court.

On July 25, 2014, the Arizona Department Water Resources filed the factual analysis and technical assessment of the agreement requested by the Court. The report reviews the quantification agreement; describes the history, physical characteristics, and natural resources of the reservation; summarizes the statements of claimant filed by the Tribe and the United States; evaluates the water rights established in the agreement; and evaluates the probable depletion of water resources resulting from the agreement.

Public presentations were held in Globe, Show Low, and Phoenix to provide information about the quantification agreement, ADWR's factual analysis, and the deadline to file objections to the agreement. The last day to file objections is Monday, September 8, 2014. Written objections must be filed with the Clerk of either the Apache County Superior Court or the Maricopa County Superior Court. Responses to objections are due by Monday, September 29, 2014.

Gila River Adjudication

Subflow Zone Map of the San Pedro River Watershed: The Arizona Department of Water Resources filed a revised Subflow Zone Delineation Report for the San Pedro River Watershed. The report delineates the lateral extent of the subflow zone of the San Pedro River, Babocomari River, and Aravaipa Creek and describes how ADWR applied certain setbacks to the delineation of the subflow zone as the Court directed. The Court will hold a hearing on November 6, 2014, on objections filed to the revised report. Objections are due by October 1, 2014. At the hearing, the Court will also consider the request of the Salt River Project to initiate a contested case to address subflow issues in the Verde River Watershed.

The Court directed ADWR to file by October 1, 2014, its proposals for the next projects the Department believes it should undertake now that it has completed the revised report. The Court directed parties who expect to use expert technical or scientific witnesses to arrange for their experts to meet and identify disputed and undisputed matters of fact and expert opinion related to objections. The meetings, which will not be recorded, will be held without the presence of attorneys, and information discussed during the meetings will not be subject to discovery. Prior to filing objections, counsel shall meet to attempt to resolve disputed matters of fact and expert opinion. The parties have set a technical meeting on August 28, 2014.

Claimants can purchase copies of ADWR's technical reports by calling 1-866-246-1414. The reports are available for download from the Department's web site at http://www.azwater.gov/dwr - look under Programs - Adjudications - Subflow Technical Report, San Pedro River Watershed.

In re Redfield Canyon Wilderness Area: This case is addressing the federal reserved water rights claims to the wilderness area. The Special Master determined the initial issues set for briefing in the case initiation order and designated two issues for briefing in the next phase of this case. The issues for the next phase will be (1) how much, if any, unappropriated water was available on November 28, 1990?, and (2) if unappropriated water was available on November 28, 1990, what is the quantity of water sufficient to fulfill the purposes of the Redfield Canyon Wilderness Area? Timelines for disclosure statements concerning the two issues were set as well as a conference in March 2015.

In re Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness Area: On June 9, 2014, the Special Master adopted the analysis implemented in another contested case that the Court can quantify a federal reserved water right without first determining the availability of unappropriated water on the date of the reservation. The ruling does not preclude discovery on the availability of unappropriated water on the 1984 and 1990 dates of reservation of this wilderness area. The Special Master reiterated that a federal reserved water right is limited to unappropriated water available on the date of the reservation. This case is proceeding in the most efficient manner given the limitations of the lack of a subflow zone delineation map and the required statutory report.

In re Powers Garden Administrative Site: The Court approved the Special Master's report and its two abstracts of water rights thereby bringing this case to a conclusion. The approved abstracts are for federal reserved water rights to Powers Garden Spring in the amount of 2.99 acre feet per annum, and for Powers Garden Spring as the source of water for a stockpond named Cow Camp Tank for 0.56 acre foot per annum with right to fill and refill. The date of reservation or priority for both water rights is September 26, 1910. This remote administrative site is located in the Coronado National Forest.

In re Applications of Salt River Project for Injunctive Relief: The Salt River Project filed a motion for summary judgment in the matters involving Respondents David R. Henry, Kathy S. Henry, Michael C. Kasper, and Judy L. Kasper. On May 20, 2014, upon the stipulation of the parties, the Court extended the date for the Respondents to answer the motion to September 15, 2014. These matters in the Verde River Watershed are undergoing extensive negotiations.

Updated Court Approved Mailing Lists

Updated Court approved mailing lists dated July 15, 2014, are posted. These lists contain all changes known to the office of the Special Master as of this date. Click here to see a listing of changes. The mailing lists posted on the website are updated as changes come to our attention.

Other News

New Mailing Lists Data Base: Our office has begun using a new data base software custom designed by Maricopa County's Court Technology Services for preparing court approved mailing lists. For over 20 years, we had been using software that was not compatible with systems used by the entities with whom our office interacts. We are very appreciative of the outstanding assistance and work done by the Superior Court's CTS group.


Link here to the calendar of proceedings.

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