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Judge Hears Case Involving San Diego County Water Authority

Video

Associated Press Reporter On San Diego's Water Rate Fight

Above: The San Diego correspondent for the Associated Press, Elliot Spagat, discusses the details of the San Diego County Water Authority's water rate debate with L.A.-based Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

Aired 12/17/13 on KPBS Midday Edition.

GUESTS:

Elliot Spagat, San Diego Correspondent for the Associated Press

Mike Lee, Spokesman, San Diego County Water Authority

Transcript

Video

County Water Authority Spokesman Speaks About San Diego's Decision To Sue

Above: On the same day the trial gets underway in San Francisco, we talk with San Diego County Water Authority Spokesman Mike Lee about the agency's decision to file suit against the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

It's been a long time coming, but San Diego's claims that it has been overcharged for water transport fees are being heard this week in a San Francisco courtroom. The San Diego Water Authority has sued the L.A.-based Metropolitan Water District of Southern California for the fees it charges to transfer water from the Imperial Valley via its aqueduct. San Diego claims the overcharge comes to about $57 million a year, or more than $73 per San Diego family.

San Diego is the Metropolitan Water District's largest customer.

According to the Associated Press:

"San Diego ended its complete dependence on Metropolitan after a drought tightened the spigot in the early 1990s. It began a costly effort to diversify supplies that includes construction of the Western Hemisphere's largest desalination plant in Carlsbad and, most significantly, a 2003 agreement with California's Imperial Valley for the nation's largest farm-to-city water transfer.

Metropolitan supplied 46 percent of San Diego's water this year, down from 95 percent in 1991. By 2020, it will supply only 30 percent. There's just one catch: San Diego needs Metropolitan's aqueduct to get the water it buys from Imperial Valley."

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