Hallett Creek – Lassen County

Map of the Hallett Creek adjudication.
Map of the Hallett Creek adjudication. Don’t forget, you can click to enlarge.

There has been a long history of water grabbing, locally, and around the West, and I am referring from taking water out of one basin, to be used in another. Take for instance, in 1906 Janesville resident Wiley Cornelison constructed a small tunnel along the Diamond Range, just past Thompson Peak. What he did was divert some water from the east branch of Thompson Creek into Hallett Creek. It should be noted the diversion was only done in the spring when there was sufficient flows in both streams. As a rule, Hallett Creek normally dries up by July of each year.

Seventy years later, things got ugly about this diversion and Hallett Creek itself and the State Water Resources Control Board intervened to prepare an adjudication.  What perplexed me about the litigation, where the numerous briefs filed by outside parties such as the Sierra Club. Why such a big fight, over an intermittent stream? In 1986, I happened to be on an excursion to Death Valley and discovered the answer.  I met a Los Angeles attorney who was quite familiar with Hallett Creek. The big issue was transfer out of the Feather River watershed, i.e., Thompson Creek, into Hallett Creek into the Honey Lake Basin. The outcome of course, could have an impact with the water issues of the Owens Valley.

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