San Diego water officials were dealt a major legal loss Wednesday that could leave local water customers on the hook for billions of dollars over the next several decades. For years, San Diego water officials have argued that the region’s major supplier of water, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, has been charging too much to deliver water to San Diego from the Colorado River. But on Wednesday, an appellate court found that San Diego water customers are, by and large, only being asked to pay their fair share to use a statewide water delivery system.
Archive for date: June 22nd, 2017
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Damages awarded to the San Diego County Water Authority in a long-running legal dispute over rates need to be recalculated, a panel of state appellate justices ruled Wednesday. The ruling by the three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal in San Francisco amounted to a split decision for the Water Authority, which sued the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California multiple times over the amount it charged the SDCWA to transport imported water from the Colorado River.
Water agencies in Colorado are singing the praises of a bill passed Thursday in the U.S. House of Representatives that would streamline the permitting process for major water projects.H.B. 1654, introduced in April by Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., would make establish the federal Bureau of Reclamation as the lead agency for permitting water storage projects and coordinate the interests of all federal agencies in the permitting process. It also would coordinate information among federal, state and local governments to reduce redundant requirements in the process.
Arizona risks losing water rights because of a lingering, nearly two-decade long drought in the Colorado River that could restrict water use ranging from farmers’ crops to how many households receive water, state water experts say. Calcium rings around Lake Mead tell the story of declining water levels, with cream markings permanently decorating the canyon walls that shows high levels that haven’t been seen since 1983. Current surface elevation is at 1,081 feet. If it drops another six feet, water to Arizona will likely be cut, according to an Arizona budget document.
While winter rains have refilled California reservoirs and dumped near-record snow on the mountains, communities across the state are wisely seeking ways reduce their vulnerability to future droughts. One option some are considering is seawater desalination. Tapping the vast ocean seems like a promising solution, and proponents often tout Australia and Israel, which have adopted this technology. We agree that California should look at experiences in other parts of the world. But we need to have all the facts and make the right decisions for our communities.
Despite cutting their water use by nearly 30 percent over the past nine years, Padre Dam Water District customers were hit with another five years of higher rates by its board, which voted unanimously June 21 to trigger the new charges starting Nov. 1. At a required public hearing explaining the reasons behind the rate increase, five of about 30 residents attending the meeting spoke out against the proposal.
The next time San Diegans face a proposed water rate increase, the City Council will be getting a second professional opinion about whether the increase is necessary and how large it should be. The change comes after the city approved in late 2015 a series of rate increases totaling nearly 40 percent over four years, including a 6.4 percent hike that will take effect July 1.
The final round of tests in San Diego Unified School District found no schools other than ones that were previously detected had high levels of lead in drinking fountains and faucets, district officials said Thursday. The City of San Diego began testing water at school sites in March, and drinking fountains at Co-Operative Charter School 2 and Emerson-Bandini School were found to have twice the acceptable lead level set by the state. The two Southcrest schools share the same campus.
A legal ruling that San Diego County water officials said would save customers here up to $7 billion has been overturned. A California appellate court on Wednesday partially reversed a 2015 trial court ruling that awarded the San Diego County Water Authority $234 million in alleged overcharges, interest and legal fees to be paid by longtime legal foes at the Los Angeles-based regional agency known as MWD, or the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.
The San Diego County Water Authority announced Thursday its board had adopted a $1.58 billion budget, which included a 3.7 percent increase in water rates to it’s 24 member agencies. The Water Authority said the rate increase, which it claimed is among the smallest in the past decade, will be passed on to customers at an amount determined by the individual agencies. For example the amount of the increase passed on to Helix Water District customers may be different than those passed on to customers of the city of San Diego.