Statutory Adjudication of Water Rights in the Fresno River Watershed
On October 20, 2020, the State Water Board granted a petition by the Madera Irrigation District for the statutory adjudication of the Fresno River, directing State Water Board staff to proceed with the determination of the rights of the various claimants to the water of the Fresno River stream system. Parties in the lower Fresno River had previously been given time to negotiate an alternative agreement to resolve the issues outlined in the petition following its submission to the Board in October 2018.
A statutory adjudication is a proceeding by which the rights to water in a stream system are determined through a State Water Board proceeding and court decree. California Water Code sections 2500-2868 and California Code of Regulations Title 23, sections 945-951 describe the State Water Board’s process in conducting a statutory adjudication. Previous statutory adjudications conducted by the Board are listed on the Division’s Water Rights Judgments and Determinations page.
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April 2021 Board Meeting
At an April 6, 2021 State Water Board meeting, staff provided a status update on the adjudication process and a summary of potential interim solutions to conflicts in the Fresno River watershed while the adjudication is ongoing.
- April 6, 2021 - State Water Board Meeting video, Agenda Item 6
- April 6, 2021 - State Water Board Agenda for April 6, 2021 Board Meeting
- April 6, 2021 - State Water Board Agenda Item
October 2020 Board Meeting
The State Water Board considered Madera Irrigation District’s petition for statutory adjudication of the Fresno River at the October 20, 2020 Board Meeting and passed a resolution granting the petition and initiating statutory adjudication proceedings.
- October 20, 2020 - State Water Board Resolution No. 2020-0040
- October 20, 2020 - State Water Board Meeting video, Agenda Item 7
- October 9, 2020 - State Water Board Agenda for October 20, 2020 Board Meeting
- October 20, 2020 - State Water Board Agenda Item
- October 20, 2020 - State Water Board Staff Report
- October 20, 2020 - State Water Board Draft Resolution
- Comment Letters Timely Received for October 20, 2020 Board Meeting (available upon request)
- September 3, 2020 - Russell McGlothlin
- September 28, 2020 - Andrew Ramos, Douglas Jensen, David Kahn, Lauren Layne, Melanie Aldridge, Arthur Godwin, and Alexis Stevens
- October 8, 2020 - Madera Irrigation District response to September 28, 2020 letter from Andrew Ramos, et al.
- October 9, 2020 - Madera Irrigation District
2019-2020 Negotiation Facilitation
State Water Board Resolution No. 2019-0049 granted Fresno River parties eight additional months to negotiate an agreement to resolve conflicts over the diversion and use of water in the basin. This deadline was later extended by another five months. Following the issuance of a Final Report on the Mediation, State Water Board staff held two calls with Fresno River parties to provide them an update on the Board’s further plans related to the petition.
- September 28, 2020 - Fresno River All Party Call #2 (Q&A Only)
- September 23, 2020 - Fresno River All Party Call #1
- August 7, 2020 - Kearns & West Final Report on Mediation (Link contains instructions to access this document))
2019-2020 Lower Fresno River Preliminary Desktop Investigation
In December 2019 the Division of Water Rights completed a preliminary desktop investigation of water rights and potential claims to the mainstem of the Fresno River from Hidden Dam to the confluence with the San Joaquin River (Lower Fresno River). This investigation compiled publicly available information to aid parties in their negotiations and does NOT represent a determination of water rights or supporting facts. The investigation results were later published in the interactive Fresno River Investigation Geodatabase.
As part of Fresno River party negotiations, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) released an Instream Flow Criteria Report for the Fresno River. More information is available on CDFW’s Functional Flows website.
- Fresno River Investigation Geodatabase
- CDFW Instream Flow Criteria on a Watershed Scale for the Fresno River (last updated 6/2/20)
- Summary Report (last updated 12/4/19)
- Existing Claims Table (last updated 1/24/20)
- Existing Claims Maps (last updated 12/4/19)
- No Claims Filed Table (last updated 1/24/20)
- No Claims Filed Map (last updated 12/4/19)
- Change Log (last updated 2/6/20)
September 2019 Board Meeting
The Board considered the Madera Irrigation District’s petition for statutory adjudication at the September 17, 2019 Board Meeting and adopted a resolution leaving the petition pending and giving Fresno River parties time to negotiate an alternative agreement.
- September 17, 2019 - State Water Board Resolution No. 2019-0049
- September 17, 2019 - State Water Board Meeting video, Agenda Item 10
- Comment Letters Timely Received for September 17, 2019 Board Meeting (available upon request)
- July 2, 2019 - South Delta Water Agency
- August 13, 2019 - Madera Irrigation District
- August 15, 2019 - California Department of Fish and Wildlife
- August 16, 2019 - Douglas Jensen, David Kahn, Andrew Ramos, Lauren Layne, Scott Kuney, Melanie Aldridge, Russell McGlothlin, and Alexis Stevens
- August 16, 2019 - 16 form letters from Madera Irrigation District landowners
- August 16, 2019 - Complaint in Madera Irrigation District v. Smith-Adobe Ranch
- September 6, 2019 - State Water Board Draft Resolution
- September 6, 2019 - State Water Board Agenda Item
- September 6, 2019 - State Water Board Agenda for September 17, 2019 Board Meeting
- September 5, 2019 - State Water Board Follow-Up Letter to existing water right claimants in the Fresno River Watershed
- July16, 2019 - State Water Board Letter to existing water right claimants in the Fresno River Watershed
- July 16, 2019 - State Water Board Notice of Opportunity for Public Comment and Notice of Public Board Meeting
- July 16, 2019 - State Water Board Fact Sheet on the Petition for Statutory Adjudication of Water Rights in the Fresno River Watershed
October 2018 Petition for Statutory Adjudication
In 2018 the Division of Water Rights received a petition from the Madera Irrigation District seeking to initiate a statutory adjudication of the water rights to the Fresno River and its tributaries. The petition requested that the State Water Board use its existing authorities to resolve ongoing conflicts over water rights, use, and allocations within the Fresno River watershed.