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In re Eldorado Coop Canal Co.

In re Eldorado Coop Canal Co., 2016 MT 94 (April 26, 2016) (Wheat, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the Water Court correctly concluded that the cumulative volume of water Eldorado may divert from the Teton River for the Eldorado, Truchot, Dennis, and Beattie rights is no more than 15,000 acre-feet per year; (2) whether the Water Court erred in choosing not to assign separate volume limits for each of Eldorado’s four sets of combined irrigation and stockwater rights for the Eldorado, Truchot, Dennis, and Beattie rights; and (3) whether the Water Court erred in limiting the flow rate of the Truchot right to 300 miner’s inches rather than 225 miner’s inches.

Short Answer: (1) Yes; (2) no; and (3) no.…

Curry v. Pondera County Canal & Reservoir Co.

Curry v. Pondera County Canal & Reservoir Co., 2016 MT 77 (March 29, 2016) (Wheat, J.; Baker, J. concurring; McKinnon, J., dissenting) (6-1, aff’d & rev’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the water court erred in holding that the water rights of an entity developed under the Carey Land Act for the purpose of sale or rental are not limited by the stockholders’ actual historic water use; (2) whether the water court erred in granting Pondera a “service area” rather than a place of use based on historically irrigated land; (3) whether the water court erred by ruling Pondera’s storage rights were beneficially used on the Birch Creek Flats before 1973; (4) whether the water court improperly increased the flow rate for the Gray right and improperly reversed the water master’s dismissal of a claim it found was duplicative; and (5) whether the water court’s tabulation for the Curry claim and the Pondera claim without volume measurements was an abuse of discretion.…

Fellows v. Saylor

Fellows v. Saylor, 2016 MT 45 (March 1, 2016) (Baker, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the water right claims in controversy were properly determined under Fellows I, 2012 MT 169; and (2) whether the district court erred in granting Fellows’ motion for substitution.

Short Answer: (1) Yes, and (2) the appeal of this issue is untimely.

Affirmed

Facts: Fellows owns several water rights in Spring Creek near Choteau. His rights were decreed in Sands Cattle & Land Co. v. Jackson (Mont. 10th Jud. Dist. Ct. 1892). Fellows claims that Spring Creek and the Teton Rover are hydrologically connected, and that maintaining the flow in Spring Creek requires maintaining water in the Springhill Reach, a subsurface aquifer from the Teton River.…

Teton Co-Op Canal Co. v. Teton Coop Reservoir Co.

Teton Co-Op Canal Co. v. Teton Coop Reservoir Co., 2015 MT 344 (Dec. 15, 2015) (Baker, J.) (5-0, rev’d)

Issue: Whether the Water Court erred in determining that off-stream water storage in the Eureka Reservoir was included as part of the Teton Canal’s April 18, 1890 Notice of Appropriation.

Short Answer: Yes.

Reversed and remanded

Facts: Teton Canal was formed in 1903 for the purpose of appropriating, transporting, storing and using water for irrigation in Teton County. It claims its priority date for the Eureka Reservoir under an April 18, 1890 Notice of Appropriation. In that notice, Teton Canal’s predecessors claimed 3,000 inches of Teton River water for the purpose of gathering water in a reservoir and using it to irrigate adjacent lands.…

Teton Cooperative Reservoir Co. v. Farmers Cooperative Canal Co.

Teton Cooperative Reservoir Co. v. Farmers Cooperative Canal Co., 2015 MT 208 (July 28, 2015) (Wheat, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the Water Court applied an incorrect standard of law in deciding that FCCC’s reservoirs were included in its 1895 and 1897 water rights; (2) whether the Water Court’s findings regarding FCCC’s historical use were clearly erroneous; (3) whether the Water Court’s finding that FCCC’s water use did not increase after the reservoirs were constructed was clearly erroneous; (4) whether the Water Court erred in limiting FCCC’s diversion period in response to TCRC’s objections.

Short Answer: (1) No; (2) no; (3) no; and (4) no.

Affirmed

Facts: FCCC was incorporated in June 1897 to appropriate, transport, and use irrigation water from the Teton River.…