Wolfe v. SedaliaAnnotate this Case
The issue this case presented for the Supreme Court's review centered on the historical beneficial consumptive use calculation of an 1872 irrigation right in a change of water right and augmentation plan proceeding. Sedalia Water and Sanitation District was the owner of a portion of that water right which it acquired from Owens Brothers Concrete Company. When the company owned its portion of the appropriation, it obtained a change of water right decree quantifying an annual average of 13 acre-feet of water available for use as augmentation plan credit for replacement of out-of-priority tributary groundwater depletions from a well. Having acquired the concrete company's interest, Sedalia claimed a right to the same amount of historical consumptive use water for its well augmentation plan in this case. On competing motions for summary judgment, the water court ruled that the doctrine of issue preclusion prohibited the State and Division Engineers from relitigating the quantification question (because they had been parties to the concrete company's 1986 augmentation plan case). The court held that the Engineers could raise the issue of abandonment at trial if they chose to. The Engineers argued on appeal to the Supreme Court that the Court should adopt a comprehensive rule that every change case triggered requantification of a water right. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part: issue preclusion applied to prevent relitigation of the historical beneficial consumptive use quantification; issue preclusion did not prevent the water court from inquiring into the alleged 24-year post-1986 non-use the Engineers alleged.