The San Diego County Water Authority won a tentative ruling late yesterday (Feb. 25) in its two long-running lawsuits against Los Angeles's Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which supplies 46 percent of the county's water.
San Francisco Superior Court judge Curtis E.A. Kernow tentatively ruled that in setting rates for 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California violated cost of service requirements of the state constitution, statutes, and common law.
The parties to the suit will have 15 days to file objections to the court's order, after which the court will issue a final statement of decision. A second phase of the trial will be scheduled on the water authority's claims based on breach of contract and preferential rights, according to the San Diego County Water Authority.
Both sides issued self-serving statements. The tentative ruling "validates the difficult and extraordinary measures the [San Diego County Water Authority] was forced to take the ratepayers and economy of San Diego County," said Thomas V. Wornham, chair of the authority's board of directors.
Said Jeffrey Kightlinger, general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of California, which serves 19 million people in six counties, "We look forward to the coming steps in the judicial process to demonstrate that a rate structure that fairly and equitably recovers all the cost of delivering safe, high-quality, and reliable water is in the interest of all Southern Californians."