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Disputes with regulatory officials

The priority system is most keenly observed and enforced during periods of drought. Disputes frequently arise over relative priorities, the amount and use of water to which a senior right is entitled, and the source from which that water may be taken. These disputes may arise in several forms. A breakdown of the priority system on a particular stream may result in orders to discontinue diversions issued by state officials (known as curtailment or red tagging), state adoption of rules and regulations, and/or injunction proceedings between individual water users based on an asserted expanded use or other misuse of a water right.  

Often those disputes involve interpretation of historical water right decrees. When the continued use of water is vital to economic survival, these disputes assume monumental proportions, sometimes involving protracted and complex litigation and appeals.  

Curtis, Justus, & Zahedi, LLC represents clients in a variety of western states in priority disputes against other individual users and against the imposition of undue regulatory restrictions by state officials. We also represent clients in protesting claims that they have abandoned water rights.