Gila Valley Irr. Dist. v. United States, No. 9527.

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtWILBUR, HANEY, and HEALY, Circuit
Citation118 F.2d 507
PartiesGILA VALLEY IRR. DIST. et al. v. UNITED STATES.
Docket NumberNo. 9527.
Decision Date10 March 1941

118 F.2d 507 (1941)

GILA VALLEY IRR. DIST. et al.
v.
UNITED STATES.

No. 9527.

Circuit Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

March 10, 1941.


Ralph W. Bilby, T. K. Shoenhair, C. T. Knapp, Jas. P. Boyle, B. G. Thompson, and Arthur Henderson, all of Tucson, Ariz., and

118 F.2d 508
Guy Anderson of Safford, Ariz., for appellants

Norman M. Littell, Asst. Atty. Gen., Frank E. Flynn, U. S. Atty., and H. S. McCluskey, both of Phoenix, Ariz., and Charles R. Denny and Robert Koerner, Attys., Dept. of Justice, both of Washington, D. C. (Geraint Humpherys, District Counsel, U. S. Indian Field Service, of Los Angeles, Cal., of counsel), for appellee.

Before WILBUR, HANEY, and HEALY, Circuit Judges.

WILBUR, Circuit Judge.

This is an appeal from an order of court sustaining the action of the Water Commissioner in the execution of its decree. The action was brought in 1925 and final decree rendered therein in 1935 in pursuance of a stipulation of the parties expressly agreeing to the terms of the decree which determines and regulates the rights of the water users on the Gila River in New Mexico and Arizona to the natural flow of the River and to the waters stored in the San Carlos Reservoir by the Coolidge Dam situated in the San Carlos Indian Reservation.

The decree provided for the appointment of a water commissioner to distribute the water in accordance with the terms of the decree. It reserved jurisdiction in the trial court to consider applications to review the action of the water commissioner from time to time. The appellants herein, called by the decree "upper valley defendants", being dissatisfied with a ruling of the water commissioner concerning their water rights in the Gila River as fixed by the decree, applied to the court for an order requiring the water commissioner to conform to their interpretation of the decree. The trial court considered the application but upheld the decision of the water commissioner. They appeal from this decision of the court.

The question involved on this appeal is the meaning of the term "stored water", as used in paragraph 8 of the decree.

The action was brought by the United States on its behalf and as trustee for the Indians in the San Carlos and Gila River Indian Reservations. The action was brought against all the canal companies and water users along the River so far as they could be ascertained and all joined in the stipulation adopting the proposed decree. The decree is very long. Before pointing to the exact language of the decree about which this controversy revolves it is necessary to state some of the facts pertaining to the use of the waters of the Gila River.

The Gila River, although a very long stream rising in New Mexico and extending across Arizona, varies greatly from time to time in the amount of water carried therein. The region through which it flows is subject to cloudbursts and heavy floods and the rainy season is limited in extent. The land through which the stream flows is semi-arid or desert land requiring irrigation for successful agricultural or horticultural results.

In 1924, 43 Stat. 475, Congress authorized the building of a dam across the River, known as the Coolidge Dam, in San Carlos Canyon to impound the water of the stream so that it could be utilized without waste. It was proposed that the dam should have a storage capacity of 1,285,000 acre feet, sufficient to irrigate 214,166 2/3 acres of land, allowing 6 acre feet per annum for each acre irrigated, which was stipulated and decreed to be the duty of water in that region. It was desired that the decree should not only fix the rights of all parties thereto in and to the natural flow of the stream but also their rights with relation to the stored waters which were to be impounded above the Coolidge Dam. In fixing the water rights theretofore existing it was essential that the order of priority of the rights be determined and set out in the decree for the reason that the flow of water in the river was frequently too small to give to each owner the amount which he would otherwise be entitled to use upon his land. By the terms of the decree the rights of all the water users were fixed at six acre feet per annum for the land designated in the decree with a flow of not exceeding 1/80th of a cubic foot per second for each acre of land entitled to water for irrigation.

The provision of the decree with reference to the upper valley defendants involved...

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19 practice notes
  • San Carlos Apache Tribe v. U.S., No. CV 99-255 TUC DCB.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. District of Arizona
    • July 9, 2003
    ...(unpublished); United States v. Gila Valley Irrigation Dist., 454 F.2d 219 (9th Cir.1972); Gila Valley Irrigation Dist. v. United States, 118 F.2d 507 (9th Cir.1941); United States v. Gila Valley Irrigation Dist., 804 F.Supp. 1 (D.Ariz.1992); United States v. Gila Valley Irrigation Dist., 9......
  • Rank v. (Krug) United States, No. 685-ND.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Southern District of California)
    • July 11, 1956
    ...161 F. 829; Pacific Live Stock Co. v. Hanley, 9 Cir., 1912, 200 F. 468; Gila Valley Irrigation District v. United States, 9 Cir., 1941, 118 F.2d 507; Vineyard Land & Stock Co. v. Twin Falls S. R. L. & W. Co., 9 Cir., 1917, 245 F. Historically and traditionally, courts of equity may adjust t......
  • In re General Rights of Gila River System, No. WC-02-0003-IR.
    • United States
    • Arizona Supreme Court
    • February 9, 2006
    ...or desert land requiring irrigation for successful agricultural or horticultural results." Gila Valley Irrigation Dist. v. United States, 118 F.2d 507, 508 (9th 2. The first Ninth Circuit decision involving the Decree was Gila Valley Irrigation District v. United States, 118 F.2d 507 (9th C......
  • Brooks v. United States, No. 9544.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • March 10, 1941
    ...River at Yuma, Arizona. The decree involved was the same one considered by this court in the case of Gila Valley v. United States, 9 Cir., 118 F.2d 507, filed March 10, The appellants are all parties defendant in the litigation brought by the United States to settle the water rights in the ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
19 cases
  • San Carlos Apache Tribe v. U.S., No. CV 99-255 TUC DCB.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. District of Arizona
    • July 9, 2003
    ...(unpublished); United States v. Gila Valley Irrigation Dist., 454 F.2d 219 (9th Cir.1972); Gila Valley Irrigation Dist. v. United States, 118 F.2d 507 (9th Cir.1941); United States v. Gila Valley Irrigation Dist., 804 F.Supp. 1 (D.Ariz.1992); United States v. Gila Valley Irrigation Dist., 9......
  • Rank v. (Krug) United States, No. 685-ND.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Southern District of California)
    • July 11, 1956
    ...161 F. 829; Pacific Live Stock Co. v. Hanley, 9 Cir., 1912, 200 F. 468; Gila Valley Irrigation District v. United States, 9 Cir., 1941, 118 F.2d 507; Vineyard Land & Stock Co. v. Twin Falls S. R. L. & W. Co., 9 Cir., 1917, 245 F. Historically and traditionally, courts of equity may adjust t......
  • In re General Rights of Gila River System, No. WC-02-0003-IR.
    • United States
    • Arizona Supreme Court
    • February 9, 2006
    ...or desert land requiring irrigation for successful agricultural or horticultural results." Gila Valley Irrigation Dist. v. United States, 118 F.2d 507, 508 (9th 2. The first Ninth Circuit decision involving the Decree was Gila Valley Irrigation District v. United States, 118 F.2d 507 (9th C......
  • Brooks v. United States, No. 9544.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • March 10, 1941
    ...River at Yuma, Arizona. The decree involved was the same one considered by this court in the case of Gila Valley v. United States, 9 Cir., 118 F.2d 507, filed March 10, The appellants are all parties defendant in the litigation brought by the United States to settle the water rights in the ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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