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YUMA CTY. WATER USERS' ASSN. v. UDALL

July 22, 1964

YUMA COUNTY WATER USERS' ASSOCIATION, Yuma, Arizona, Plaintiff,
v.
Stewart L. UDALL, Secretary of the Interior, Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: WALSH

FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

This matter came on for hearing before the undersigned on July 21, 1964, on a Motion for Preliminary Injunction. The plaintiff Association asks the Court to restrain the Secretary of the Interior from enforcing an order issued May 16, 1964, effective June 1, 1964, reducing by ten per cent the delivery of irrigation water to the plaintiff. Plaintiff alleges a preliminary injunction is necessary to avoid irreparable damage by way of injury to crops now growing in the area concerned, located south of Yuma, Arizona, and along the east side of the Colorado River to the Mexican Border.

 In opposition to the motion the defendant asserts this Court is without jurisdiction, in that this is an action against the United States in that it seeks to enjoin the exercise by a federal official of a power delegated to him by the United States, and the United States has not consented to be sued in the case; and further asserts that plaintiff has not exhausted its administrative remedies, and plaintiff has an adequate remedy at law.

 The Court has heard testimony and arguments of counsel, and has reviewed the pleadings and affidavits in the file, and after consideration of the same makes the following findings of fact and conclusions of law:

 1. The Plaintiff is a non-profit private corporation operating under the laws of the State of Arizona. Its members are farmers in the Valley Division, Yuma Project, Arizona, who depend on water from the Colorado River for irrigated lands.

 2. The defendant is the Secretary of the Interior of the United States, and is charged with the administration of the laws relating to the storage and delivery of waters of the main stream of the Colorado River.

 3. The lands within the Yuma Project were first irrigated by water from the Colorado River in 1890. These lands were included in the Yuma Reclamation Project in 1904 by authority of the Reclamation Act of 1902.

 4. In 1906 the Secretary of the Interior entered into a contract with the plaintiff which provided for individual water right agreements.

 5. Water was diverted to the project in 1912 from Laguna Dam through the Yuma Main Canal under the Colorado River by a siphon. Subsequent to the completion of the Imperial Dam in 1938, water has been diverted through the All-American Canal to Siphon Drop and then through the Yuma Main Canal.

 6. On June 15, 1951, the plaintiff entered into a contract with the United States whereby the association would provide for the operation and maintenance of the project works and the defendant agreed to deliver water from Lake Mead to the plaintiff through the Yuma Main Canal. That contract expressly provides that rights previously acquired by the association and landowners are to remain unimpaired, and that the contract is subject to the provisions of the Boulder Canyon Project Act, the Colorado River Compact, and the Mexican Water Treaty.

 7. The contract between the parties, dated June 15, 1951, provides, inter alia:

 '12(a). As far as reasonable diligence will permit, the United States will, * * * from storage available in Lake Mead, deliver to or for the Association through the Yuma Main Canal * * * such quantities of water, * * * as may be ordered by the Association and as may be reasonably required and beneficially used for the irrigation of the irrigable lands situate within the division * * *'

 8. The defendant, pursuant to the 1951 contract, did deliver vast quantities of water during the period 1951 through the present time.

 9. On May 16, 1964, the defendant announced that he was ordering a ten per cent reduction in water deliveries, effective June 1, 1964. This will amount to a reduction of 20,300 acre-feet of water during the period June, 1964, through December, 1964. The letter of May 19, 1964, implementing the action of the Secretary ...


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