Agua Caliente v. Coachella Valley Water District, et al.

Attorney: Steven C. Moore

NARF represents the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians in a lawsuit on May 14, 2013 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, asking the Court to declare the existence of the Tribe’s water rights as the senior rights in the Coachella Valley under federal law, to quantify these rights, and to prevent Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) and Desert Water Agency (DWA) from further injuring the Tribe, its members and residents in surrounding communities throughout the Valley by impairing the quantity and quality of water in the aquifer.

The water districts import and then fail to adequately treat substantially lower quality water from the Colorado River and inject that water into the aquifer. The recharge water, which contains higher total dissolved solids, nitrates, pesticides, and other contaminants, is reinjected into the Coachella Valley aquifer at a facility close to the Tribe’s lands. Thus, the groundwater in the Western Coachella Valley, including the water below the Agua Caliente Reservation, which includes the cities of Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, and Thousand Palms, is being polluted at a faster rate than the aquifer down-valley.

Read More: Protection of Tribal Natural Resources