California Supreme Court rules in favor of United Water vs. City of Ventura

In a precedent-setting decision last December, the California Supreme Court upheld a 2015 Court of Appeal ruling, declaring United Water Conservation District’s groundwater pumping charges are not subject to Proposition 218 as was asserted by the City of Ventura.

On Feb.25, the California Supreme Court again voiced its support of United Water in this case, denying the City of Ventura request for a rehearing of the December decision and ratifying that United Water’s pumping charges must only be fair or reasonable in light of the burdens imposed or benefits received by the City of Ventura from its groundwater pumping.

“United Water Conservation District is gratified by this latest opinion of California’s highest court. Their decision will guide the Court of Appeal in determining whether the District’s pumping charges were fair or reasonable, and confirms that our basic operating principles are correct,” commented Robert Eranio, Board President, United Water Conservation District.

In 2013, a trial court ruled in favor of the City of Ventura on the matter, saying that United Water’s process for charging pumpers did not satisfy Proposition 218 and was therefore incorrect.

United Water appealed that trial court decision to the Court of Appeal in late 2013 and won, thus overturning the trial court. The City of Ventura appealed that ruling to the California Supreme Court in 2015, losing round one in the highest court last December, and now also round two.

“We are looking forward to working with the City of Ventura on important water resource issues including returning to the Court of Appeal to resolve one lingering question regarding charges. The collaboration of our two agencies on regional water projects is vital to Ventura County. We are ready to open up that dialogue and achieve these goals,” commented Mauricio Guardado, General Manager, United Water Conservation District.

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