Originally published December 17, 2013 at 11:30 a.m., updated December 17, 2013 at 6:55 p.m.
Elliot Spagat, San Diego Correspondent for the Associated Press
Mike Lee, Spokesman, San Diego County Water Authority
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."