From the Cortez Journal (Joe Hanel):
The 4-3 ruling solidified water rights for the King Consolidated Ditch Co. and seven others. The companies wanted to make sure their 1930s-era rights are protected against a plan to fill Vallecito Reservoir twice a year in order to maintain winter flows in the river…
Lawyers for the [Southern Ute] tribe argued the Utes and about 100 other water rights owners on the Pine River should have been served with legal notice that the ditch companies – which own the some of the most senior water rights on the stream – were going to court to clear up their rights. “This is a declaration that affects not particular water rights, but virtually all senior water rights on the Pine River,” said Adam Reeves, a lawyer for the tribe, during September’s arguments.
The high court was sharply divided on its March 14 ruling. Dissenting Justice Nancy Rice called the ruling a precedent that “opens the floodgates for the scope of already-adjudicated water rights to be revisited and reinterpreted without direct notice to rights holders.”
More San Juan basin coverage here.