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4 Ariz. J. Envtl. L. & Pol'y 1 (2013-2014)

handle is hein.journals/arijel4 and id is 1 raw text is: A SMASHING VICTORY?: WAS ARIZONA V
Robert Glennon** and jacob Kavkewitf **
C 2013 by Robert Glennon and Jacob Kavkewitz
Fifyyears ago, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down the most important decision in the State of
Ari.ona's history. Arizona v. California allocated the flow of the Colorado River among the three Lower
Basin states (Arizona, Calfornia, and Nevada) according to terms of the 1928 Boulder Canyon Project Act
(BCPA). Arionans rejoiced. However, Ariona's reaction seems perplexing, given that the State spent
decades denouncing the BCPA. Arzona challenged the BCPA numerous times in the Supreme Court and
engaged infiercepoktical battles to block its implementation.
This Article explores this riddle ly reviewing the legal and poktical events leading up to Arizona
v. California. Ultimately, the Article concludes that the decision was a victog for Arizona because, while
Arizona had engaged in a strategy of obstruction, Cal/ornia had steadily been using more of the Colorado
River'sflow. Calfornia's use eventually was well above the amount allocated to it in the BCPA-water that
would otherwise have gone to Arizona. To secure legal rghts to water that Calfornia was already putting to
a beneficial use, Arizona needed to convince the Supreme Court to depart from estabkshed precedent for
determining interstate water disputes and rafy the notion that Congress could and had allocated an interstate
stream among states.
The decision's impact on Arizona cannot be overstated. On its heels came Congressional
approval of the Central Arizona Project, which allowed Phoenix and Tucson to develop into major
For comments on earlier drafts, we are grateful to Larry MacDonnell, Jason Robison,
and Nathan Schott.
Regents' Professor and Morris K. Udall Professor of Law and Public Policy, University
of Arizona, Rogers College of Law.
***   J.D. 2013, University of Arizona, Rogers College of Law.

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