Carl Blumenstein, a veteran Nossaman Litigation Partner, was quoted in the in the Daily Journal story "Santa Barbara Water District Has Rights To Ranch's Aquifer."
In this high-profile and contentious water rights dispute, Nossaman represents Goleta Water District which sued Slippery Rock Ranch, a 780-acre property owned by Dick Wolf, creator of Law and Order. On February 23, 2017, the Santa Barbara Superior Court issued a tentative decision solidly in favor of Nossaman's client, as reported by the Daily Journal, the Los Angeles Times and other media outlets.
Because of the threat posed to the groundwater basin used to supply the Goleta community, the District had sued to prevent the Ranch from extracting groundwater and selling it, for private gain, to neighboring cities.
The Daily Journal quoted Mr. Blumenstein's explanation of the Court's key ruling: "The Slippery Rock property is part of the watershed that is resupplying the District's groundwater basin. The court confirmed that the water district has a legal right to use the groundwater basin, which it uses to provide water to its customers in Goleta." Therefore, as further reported in the Daily Journal, the court's tentative ruling concludes that the underlying water recharges the basin and that the District is the "senior appropriator” of the water underlying the Ranch.
Not confined to the esoteric group of water lawyers, the District's lawsuit has received considerable media attention in Santa Barbara and beyond. The Superior Court's tentative decision was the subject of a Los Angeles Times article, "Law & Order Creator Suffers Setback In Fight To Sell Central Coast Groundwater," and the decision was reported in various other Central Coast publications, as well as Mealey's Water Rights.
It is anticipated that the Superior Court will finalize its decision in coming weeks. As the court ruling explained, there will be further court and administrative proceedings to determine whether any surplus water is available to the Ranch for appropriation and how that might occur.