RECENT DEVELOPMENT: WATER RIGHTS ON INDIAN RESERVATIONS -- TRANSFERABILITY OF INDIAN WATER RIGHTS -- STATE ADMINISTRATION OF NON-INDIAN WATER RIGHTS WITHIN THE RESERVATION -- Colville Con federated Tribers v. Walton, 647 F.2d 42 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 454 U.S. 1092 (1981). Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 1982 Washington Law Review
Washington Law Review

RECENT DEVELOPMENT: WATER RIGHTS ON INDIAN RESERVATIONS -- TRANSFERABILITY OF INDIAN WATER RIGHTS -- STATE ADMINISTRATION OF NON-INDIAN WATER RIGHTS WITHIN THE RESERVATION -- Colville Con federated Tribers v. Walton, 647 F.2d 42 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 454 U.S. 1092 (1981).

DECEMBER, 1982

58 Wash. L. Rev. 89

Author

Matthew L. Fick

Excerpt

No Name Creek is a small spring-fed stream lying entirely within the Colville Indian Reservation in north-central Washington. The creek basin is divided into seven irrigable parcels, all originally allotted to individual Indians. Four allotments are held in trust for the Colville Confederated Tribes (Tribe). Three are owned by the Waltons, non-Indians who operate a dairy farm on reservation land purchased from the successor of an Indian allottee.

In 1970 the Tribe sued to enjoin the Waltons from using any water from No Name Creek and its associated groundwater. 1 The Tribe asserted that it had a right to all the water to irrigate its 229 irrigable acres and to support spawning of Lahontan cutthroat trout. The Waltons responded that they had succeeded to the reserved water right held by their Indian predecessors. They also maintained that they had a valid appropriative water right under state law. 2

Colville Confederated Tribes v. Walton presented two issues never before decided by a federal appellante court: (1) whether a non-Indian may succeed to an Indian allottee's reserved water right, and (2) whether the State of Washington may regulate water use among non-Indians within a reservation. 3

The trial court held, first, that the Waltons could not succeed to the reserved right held by their Indian predecessor. 4 The court reasoned that because reserved rights exist solely to fulfill the purposes of the Indian reservation, non-Indians could not obtain the early-priority Indian water right. The ...
 
 
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