Summary of the Mojave Basin Area Judgment - Mojave Water Agency

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Summary of the Mojave Basin Area Judgment

City of Barstow et al, v. City of Adelanto et al,
Riverside County Superior Court Case No. 208568

For purposes of defining and implementing a physical solution, the Mojave Basin Area consists of five distinct but hydrologically interrelated "Subareas".  Each Subarea was found to be in overdraft to some extent due to the use of water by all of the producers in that Subarea. In addition, some Subareas were found to historically have received at least a part of their natural water supply as water flowing  to them from upstream Subareas either on the surface or as subsurface flow. To maintain that historical relationship, the average annual obligation of any Subarea to another is set equal to the estimated average annual natural flow (excluding storm flow)  between the Subareas over the 60 year period 1930-31 through 1989-90. If the Subarea obligation is not met, producers of water in the upstream Subarea must provide Makeup Water to the downstream Subarea.

To maintain proper water balances within  each Subarea, the Judgment establishes a decreasing Free Production Allowance ("FPA") in each Subarea during the first five years, and provides for the Court to review and adjust, as appropriate, the FPA for each Subarea annually thereafter. The FPA is  allocated among the Producers in the Subarea based on each Producer’s percentage share of the FPA. All water produced in excess of any Producer’s share of the FPA must be replaced by the Producer, either by payment to the Watermaster of  funds sufficient to purchase Replacement Water, or by transfer of unused FPA from another Producer.

Each Producer’s percentage share of FPA in a Subarea was determined by first verifying the maximum annual water production (termed Base  Annual Production or "BAP") for each Producer during the five year, 1986-90, Base Period and then calculating each Producer’s percentage share of the total of all such BAP in the Subarea. All such percentage allocations are of equal priority.

All Producers in each Subarea are allowed to produce as much water as they need annually to meet their requirements, subject to compliance with the Physical Solution set forth in the Judgment. An underlying assumption of the Judgment is that sufficient  water will be made available to meet the needs of the Basin in the future from a combination of natural supply, imported water, water conservation, water reuse and transfers of FPA among Producers.

Special provisions for environmental protection  are included in the Judgment, including the creation of a Biological Resources Trust Fund. The funds are provided to secure a water supply in the event that groundwater levels within specific areas are not maintained sufficient to support existing riparian  vegetation.

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