San Diego County Water Authority petitions State Supreme Court on preferential rights

Short Title
San Diego County Water Authority petitions State Supreme Court on preferential rights
Water Authority seeks change to Metropolitan Water District’s water allocation formula
May 04, 2004

Petition for Review

In its continuing fight to eliminate a system it deems illegal and unfair, the San Diego County Water Authority today filed a petition for review before the California Supreme Court of its lawsuit challenging Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s arcane system of preferential rights.
On April 8, the Water Authority board of directors approved filing the petition after a state appellate court ruling preserving the MWD’s preferential rights water allocation formula.

The Water Authority maintains that MWD’s formula to determine the water rights of each of its member agencies is outdated and flawed. As MWD’s largest customer, the Water Authority has invested more money in MWD than any of its other member agencies. The Water Authority believes water rights at MWD should be tied directly to financial contributions. The Water Authority is challenging the 1931 law that determines water rights based on payments to MWD through property taxes and other assessments, but not purchases of water. Currently, Metropolitan pays approximately all of its operating expenses and 85 percent of its capital costs from water rates, not property taxes.

The court has 60 days to grant or deny the review and can extend that period an additional 30 days.

The San Diego County Water Authority is a public agency serving the San Diego region as a wholesale supplier of water from the Colorado River and Northern California. The Water Authority works through its 23 member agencies to provide a safe, reliable water supply to support the region’s $130 billion economy and the quality of life of 3 million residents.

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