Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck Opens Door to the California Water Market

Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck Opens Door to the California Water Market

Apr 29, 2014


Brownstein Client Alert, April 29, 2014

Californians have long recognized the need for water markets in solving the state’s frequent imbalances in supply and demand. Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck has consistently endeavored to knock down these barriers on behalf of our clients and water users throughout California.

 On April 24, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Curtis E.A. Karnow entered a Statement of Decision on Rate Setting Challenges by the San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA) against the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD). In the 66-page ruling, Judge Karnow addressed SDCWA’s challenges to the legality of four rates set by MWD including its “System Access Rate,” “System Power Rate,” “Water Stewardship Rate” and “Wheeling Rate” (collectively, “Rates”). He found that these Rates—charged to transport or “wheel” non-MWD water through MWD’s pipelines and facilities—are not reasonable, and violate California’s Wheeling Statute, Government Code §549997(a) and the common law.

The trial court decision could provide the last piece of the puzzle necessary to make the conveyance of water cost-effective across California, including water transfers to the more than 19 million people who live and work in Southern California.

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