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Judge’s Ruling Could Limit San Diego’s Water Supply

Audio

Aired 1/15/10

About one-quarter of San Diego County's water supply could be affected by a court ruling. A California judge in Sacramento Thursday invalidated a landmark pact to curtail the state's overuse of water.

About one-quarter of San Diego County's water supply could be affected by a court ruling. A California judge in Sacramento Thursday invalidated a landmark pact to curtail the state's overuse of water.

Superior Court Judge Ronald Candee ruled that many of the contracts enacted through the 2003 deal were invalid.

He says they entailed an improper agreement by the state to pick up much of the cost of saving the Salton Sea.

The 75-year pact called for Colorado River water to be shipped from desert farms to San Diego. It was opposed by farmers and landowners who lost water under the agreement.

Those contracts are a series of agreements between the San Diego County Water Authority, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the state of California, the Imperial Irrigation District and the Coachella Water District.

Dennis Cushman with the San Diego County Water Authority says the two key agreements for San Diego are the Imperial Irrigation District and the Water Authority Water Conservation and Transfer Agreement, and the All-American and Coachella Canal lining agreements.

He says those two sources will provide about one-fourth of the region's water supply this year.

Cushman says the judge's ruling will be appealed.

"Our expectation is that the enforcement of the judgement will continue to be stayed during the appeal process and that the water will continue to flow," said Cushman.

The judge issued a stay on his ruling, allowing water shipments to continue for a 30-day period after he formally enters his judgment.

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