Legal battle over Monterey water system continues

If you thought the battle in Monterey over who gets be the retail water provider for the area was done, you would be wrong.

Back in 2018, Monterey voters passed Measure J, a measure that proposed a feasibility study and then government action in potentially acquiring the assets of California American Water’s delivery system in Monterey.

The Monterey Peninsula Water Management District (MPWMD) completed that study, then applied for authorization to become a retail water supplier with the Monterey County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO), a critical step for MPWMD to supply water to Monterey customers.

That application was denied by LAFCO only to be appealed by MPWMD. Then in October 2023, Monterey County Superior Court Judge Thomas Wills decided in MPWMD’s favor and vacated the order.

Now, California American Water has filed an appeal to overturn the Superior Court’s decision. If the Superior Court’s decision to vacate stands, the matter would potentially be sent back to LAFCO for reconsideration.

“The court set aside the resolution and allowed MPWMD to seek further review by LAFCO, but no additional review is necessary because the facts are the same,” said Evan Jacobs, Senior Director of External Affairs for California American Water in a statement. “MPWMD does not have the experience or capacity to operate one of the most complex water systems in the country, and its proposal would impose an undue burden on Monterey residents.”

LAFCO has filed a separate and similar appeal.

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