United Water Prevails in Legal Battle against City of Ventura

Calif. Supreme Court Rules in Favor of United Water vs. City of Ventura

Santa Paula, CA– 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.

Yesterday, 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.

The decision by the California Supreme Court ensures that United Water Conservation District will have a source of funding to undertake projects that meet their mission to replenish groundwater, which is a key irrigation source for Ventura County and even more vital during the state’s historic drought.

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.

About United Water Conservation District (UWCD)

Since 1927, United Water Conservation District, situated in central Ventura County, has distinguished itself as a leader among water agencies by conserving and enhancing the water resources of the Santa Clara River and Oxnard Coastal Plain, while working to protect the environment’s natural attributes. The District conserves runoff from all major tributaries of the Santa Clara River within its boundaries, including Piru, Hopper, Sespe, and Santa Paula Creeks. Without these efforts, much of this valuable water would simply flow out to sea.


Committed to managing the area’s water supplies through groundwater replenishment and through the construction and operation of efficient water supply and delivery systems, today the District serves as the conservator of groundwater resources that are utilized by the cities of Oxnard, Port Hueneme, Ventura, Santa Paula, and Fillmore, as well as several mutual water districts and numerous farms and individual pumpers. It also provides surface water for agricultural irrigation and provides treated drinking water to the cities of Oxnard and Port Hueneme.  Last year, the District celebrated its 90th anniversary. For more information, visit http://www.unitedwater.org

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