Judge rejects efforts to avoid discovery in water authority rate challenge
San Francisco Superior Court Judge Richard A. Kramer on Friday rejected arguments from Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and other Southern California water agencies that they do not have to produce documents to the San Diego County Water Authority disclosing how MWD set its 2011 and 2012 water rates.
Kramer set a Sept. 5 hearing where he is expected to order MWD and the other parties to produce documents sought by the water authority, according to a water authority statement.
The water authority filed this case in June 2010 to challenge MWD’s 2011 and 2012 rates. A second complaint was filed on June 8, 2012, to challenge rates MWD adopted in April 2012 for the 2013 and 2014 calendar years. The second lawsuit was necessary in part because MWD has taken steps to delay timely resolution of the first lawsuit, reports the water authority. The cases raise similar issues, and the Water Authority and MWD have agreed to seek the transfer of the second case to San Francisco, where the first case is proceeding.
The water authority alleges that MWD improperly overcharges it for the transportation of the authority’s independent Colorado River supplies and uses that money to artificially lower the cost of MWD’s imported water to its member agencies.
The water authority estimates San Diego County ratepayers will be overcharged by $40 million in 2012 and more than $50 million in 2013. By 2021, the overcharges would grow to more than $217 million annually.
Ramona Municipal Water District supports the water authority’s action.
For more information, visit sdcwa.org/mwdrate-challenge
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