The AACWR Purpose & History
Anza-Aguanga Citizens for Water Rights
Created to distribute information
regarding the current water rights
litigation and to share the legal fees
incurred by its members.

Address your comments and questions to those on the Contacts list below.

For questions, contact Sandi Hughes at
951-212-9600 or email her at

Updated 10/30/2010

Here are downloadable versions of the newly issued
Second Ammended Complaints in Intervention
distributed by the Tribes' attorneys.

Cahuilla Ramona

For information on how to respond, please refer to the August Status Report (update) sent to you by the AACWR attorneys.

Member Meetings
All member meetings will be announced to members only via email or snail mail.

Our Purpose & History

Our Purpose

To provide maximum mutual benefit to our members by equitably sharing the cost of legal representation in defending our individual water rights relative to the claims of the Cahuilla and Ramona Bands of Cahuilla Indians.

We have no other agenda than our stated purpose.
We have expert water litigation counsel providing the best and most cost effective legal representation available.
We strive to keep our membership informed about the current litigation and the claims of the Tribes.

Our History

We began coalescing as a group of local property owners following the initiation of legal action in late 2006 by the Cahuilla and Ramona Bands of Cahuilla Indians regarding their claims to the waters of the Santa Margarita River System. Our membership has grown to nearly 1500 individuals and is still growing. We now include individuals owning property in Anza, Aguanga, and Sage in Riverside County and Aguanga, Chihuahua Valley, Sunshine Summit, Oak Grove, and the Warner Springs areas of San Diego County.


In The News

Calling dibs on groundwater, Press Enterprise - Excellent timeline brief in second article!
Water rights claim ends truce, Temecula Valley News
Riverside County posts information to explain Anza-area water rights law suit, Press Enterprise
  Old News - Good History  No, This didn't "just" happen...
Indians sue over water rights - ANZA: The Cahuilla band worries that development has hurt the reservation's aquifer level. Press Enterprise Article and Podcast


Court Case Status -
Public Information only

June 30, 2008 San Diego District Court Hearing
On June 30th, Federal Court Judge Gordon Thompson granted the Motion to Stay requested by the Ramona, Chauilla, Pechanga, Rancho Water District, and the United States of America. The judge instructed that "settlement negotiations" should commence. In ninety days the court will hold a "Status Conference" to determine the progress of negotiations. ~ More information and court documentation will be posted as it becomes available.

February 25, 2008 Transcript of Status Call
The judge sets new time limit on serving property owners named as defendants in the litigation.

July 18, 2007 Court Order (Judgment)
The judge ruled that the Cahuilla Tribes must serve every property owner individually rather than mass notify the involved citizens of the tribes' intent to sue for water rights.


Next AACWR Meeting

Only registered members can receive mail regarding our meetings. If you have questions regarding the current litigation, please refer to the contact information below.


Historical Case Documents

1966 Modified Judgment and Decree
United States Government v. Fallbrook Public Utility District

Court modified judgements from 1940, and 1961 through 1963 regarding water usage on specific parcels and retained continuing jurisdiction of all water usage of surface and underground or sub-surface waters within the Santa Margarita River Watershed.

1908 Winters v. United States
Online and downloadable PDF explanation of the Winters Doctrine a precedent setting case in Western water rights history. (further reading)



Santa Margarita Watershed Map PDF
Source: Redrafted Santa Margarita Watershed Management Plan (March 2005), Appendix C

1958 Cahuilla Land Classification Map

1958 Ramona Land Classification Map


Water Studies & Reports

02/27/04 Cahuilla Valley Groundwater Basin - Hydrology Report
Includes references from Jenks, James, Watermaster, Santa Margarita River Watershed. 2000. Letter to Brian Moniz, Groundwater Section, Southern District, California Department of Water Resources. July 1. Document also saved on web server and downloadable here: PDF

1958 Cahuilla Water Rights Studies
Records a decline in Cahuilla Reservation population from 1914 - 1958. Also notes past use of irrigation water, water table levels, water availability from the Cahuilla Creek, and how the areas of Anza and the Terwilliger Basin affected the reservation access to water. In 1958 it was indicated that "some development" of water usage for irrigation "was possible".

1958 Ramona Water Rights Studies
Defines the Ramona Reservation location and current water avilablility and usage. The study likens water usage on the Ramona reservation to that of the Cahuilla Reservation stating that such consumption requires 1.74 acre feet per acre in addition to natural rainfall expectations at that time. The study indicates that, as of 1958, "Further development of reservation lands in the Santa Margarita watershed will require the importing of water to supplement the normal rainfall and the springs in order to assure a dependable water supply for irrigation and other purposes." [Water Requirements, Page 3]. Included in the study is a map indicating what portion of the Ramona Reservation is within the Santa Margarita Watershed, as nearly 50% falls within another watershed area. [Referenced on Page 3. Map on Page 7]


Register to Participate

Registration is now closed indefinitely. It is recommended that you contact the Riverside County Bar Association or the California State Bar Association to contact a water rights attorney. You may also request to be put on our waiting list, or address your questions and concerns by emailing or calling the AACWR Hotline at 951-212-9600.



Our preferred means of communication is email as it reduces postage expenses. If you have access to email but haven't provided us with your address, please send it to us at

General Administration or Participation questions can also be directed to This address will be used to send you AACWR correspondence if we have your email address. Therefore, please add this address to your contact manager so that our correspondence doesn't end up in your SPAM file. If you would like to use email but don't have an email address, please contact Sandi Hughes at 951-763-0471. She may be able to help you obtain email without cost.

   Anza-Aguanga Citizens for Water Rights (AACWR)
   PO Box 391845
   Anza, CA 92539

   Gordon Lanik - 951-805-6800 cell
   Flavia Krieg, Legal Liaison to James Markman, AACWR Attorney
         Note: We ask you not to contact our attorney directly but address your legal comments
                  and questions to Flavia, via Sandi at Thank you.
   Pat Ellington
   Robyn Garrison
   Hillary Willhite

   Greg Burnett
   Gordon Lanik
   Flavia Krieg

   Sandi Hughes -,  951-212-9600

   1 Civic Center Circle, PO Box 1059
   Brea, CA 92822-1059

   Click names for biographies
      Attorney James L. Markman      

      Co-Counsels: B. Tilden Kim and Erin Powers
            Note: We ask you not to contact our attorney directly but name your legal comments
                     and questions to Flavia Krieg (, our legal liaison, for
                        consideration or answers. Thank you.

   Jeff Stone, District 3 Supervisor
   4080 Lemon Street, 5th Floor
   Riverside, CA 92501
   951-955-2197 fax
   1-866-383-2203 toll free
   Websites: and water rights page as well as
          for San Diego District Court documents and maps


Copyright © 2007-2009. ANZA-AGUANGA CITIZENS FOR WATER RIGHTS. Anza, CA 92539. All rights reserved.
Designed by folioflare ®