WRD settles lawsuit for $9.1M

DOWNEY − The Water Replenishment District of Southern California has agreed to pay Downey and three other cities $9.1 million to settle claims that it violated Proposition 218. The district announced the settlement on last Friday after nearly five years of litigation with the cities of Downey, Cerritos, Signal Hill, and later Bellflower, who alleged the district broke Proposition 218 procedural requirements when determining a rate for pumping groundwater.

Although a Los Angeles Superior Court judge agreed with the cities, no decision was ever made on damages. The district will now pay the cities’ $4.1 million to cover attorneys’ fees and another $5 million for future water projects in the cities of Downey, Cerritos, and Signal Hill.

According to the settlement, the projects must provide “regional benefits, reduce reliance on imported sources of water, or enhance water security in the basin.”

“Our goal has always been to protect the best interests of our residents while safeguarding the Central Groundwater Basin, which is the source of water for Downey,” said Mayor Luis Marquez in a city statement.

“We are pleased to have finally reached a settlement with the Water Replenishment District that benefits our region and that will help foster a positive, working relationship with WRD.”

Downey officials said the cities will drop all legal action against the district over the next few weeks.

 

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Published: May 7, 2015 - Volume 14 - Issue 04