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Water Talks Are On After Settlement Offer By San Diego

The Olivenhain Dam in San Diego County, shown in an undated photograph, is pa...

Credit: San Diego County Water Authority

Above: The Olivenhain Dam in San Diego County, shown in an undated photograph, is part of a network of water storage that can store 90,000 acre feet of water.

San Diego Water managers will meet with the Metropolitan Water District next week in a bid to end a long-running feud over water transfer costs.

The San Diego County Water Authority made a surprise settlement offer a week ago.

SDCWA Board Chair Jim Madaffer delivered a letter to MWD suggesting the two water agencies stop fighting over water fees.

MWD’s initial reaction was cool, with the Los Angeles-based water wholesaler canceling a closed-door meeting on the issue that was originally scheduled for this week.

RELATED: San Diego County Water Authority Seeks To Settle Legal Disputes With Metropolitan Water District

“We were surprised by the unilateral decision by the San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA) to make the proposal letter public as our ongoing discussions with SDCWA led by former Chair Muir were confidential and our agencies have an executed confidentiality agreement governing those discussions,” said the letter from Metropolitan.

The Los Angeles-based agency asked to postpone this week’s meeting to have discussions with the full board.

“Rest assured that we take the SDCWA proposal seriously, and it will receive Metropolitan’s full consideration,” the letter continued.

That meeting is back on the agenda after some email correspondence between the two agencies.

“We’re really encouraged that they’ve come back now and being willing to sit down and talk. We would like to go into the confidential aspects of the proposal. And that’s the whole purpose of the discussion that’s now going to take place at 3 p.m. on Monday in Los Angeles,” Madaffer said.

The SDCWA has spent nearly a decade fighting the MWD increases in water transfer fees.

That dispute at times became ugly. At one point San Diego water manager’s accused Metropolitan of running a shadow government trying to undermine the local water agency.

“It’s really important for our region to end that litigation. And really work cooperatively for the betterment of our ratepayers,” Madaffer said.

Legal challenges are still pending in several courts. The San Diego offer would end the litigation and set transfer fees.

San Diego County water managers will talk about their peace offering with Los Angeles officials.

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