In an “unprecedented” move, the San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA) filed suit against the San Diego Local Agency Formation Commission, or LAFCO, on Monday in an effort they claim is to protect the environment and to stop an “illegal rate increase”.
The suit comes after LAFCO voted in favor of allowing Rainbow and Fallbrook to get their water supply from a source in Riverside County instead of SDCWA, as the two districts hope for cheaper water rates.
SDCWA says the the “detachment” effort is the first of its kind in California, and it would shift approximately $140 million in costs from the Fallbrook and Rainbow water agencies to residents and businesses in the rest of the Water Authority’s service area over the next decade, raising water rates across the county as soon as January 2024.
According to the lawsuit, LAFCO failed to comply with several laws, including the County Water Authority Act, the Metropolitan Water District Act, the Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Local Government Reorganization Act of 2000, and the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA.
As of now, voters in Fallbrook and Rainbow will have the chance to vote on the issue on the November 7, 2023, ballot.