San Diego’s Water Authority Has Reignited a Century-Old Water Dispute with Local Tribes

A century ago, a handful of Indian tribes in North County lost their water as settlers began drying up the San Luis Rey River. For 50 years, the tribes fought to get back their water — water that’s used today by Escondido and Vista. They spent over a decade in lower courts and in 1984 took a fruitless trip to the Supreme Court. Several years of negotiations went nowhere and a 1988 act of Congress intended to settle the matter instead caused more confusion. That led to another decade of negotiations, and then yet another act of Congress in 2016 to clear things up. Another several months passed while the paperwork was completed.