News Worth Noting: NRDC Issue Brief: California’s droughts and desalination in context; Judge awards $8.9 million in attorneys’ fees to San Diego in MWD rate case

NRDC Issue Brief: Proceed with Caution: California’s Droughts and Desalination in Context

From the Natural Resources Defense Council:

desalination-chart-2“As state legislators prepare to discuss desalination, NRDC today released an updated issue brief on the issue,  Proceed with Caution IIas well as a blog that answers some common questions about desal and another blog that summarizes some of the key findings in the report.

The issue brief explains that there are several water options to meet our water needs that cost less money and cause less environmental damage. Whether it’s damage to our oceans or water systems or it’s the burden on our electric grid and associated global warming pollution, we should pursue first those water options that avoid the total environmental consequences of conventional ocean desalination.

“The state is thirsty for water,” Sierra Martinez, NRDC’s California Energy Project, says in his blog. “But we should not let it affect our judgment in finding new water sources. There are plenty of good options that meet our water needs and save people money that we should pursue before turning to desalination. And even then, we can do better than what we’ve done before.”

Click here to read the issue brief from the NRDC, Proceed with Caution: California’s drought and desalination in context

Judge Awards $8.9 Million in Attorneys’ Fees to Water Authority in MWD Rate Case

MWD’s damages, interest, costs and attorneys’ fees top $243 million as agency prepares to adopt more illegal rates

san diego county water authority logoAfter losing a landmark judgment in 2015, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California must pay $8.9 million in attorneys’ fees to the San Diego County Water Authority, a San Francisco Superior Court judge ruled Thursday. As the prevailing party, the Water Authority is entitled to its attorneys’ fees, according to the court order; a previous decision awarded the Water Authority more than $320,000 in court costs.

MWD now owes the Water Authority more than $243 million, including damages, costs, interest and attorneys’ fees. The bill, including the award of attorneys’ fees, accrues simple interest of 7 percent annually.

Records disclosed by MWD show that it has spent more than $20 million on its attorney’s fees.

“We are pleased that almost all of the attorneys’ fees and court costs incurred by the Water Authority to defend our water ratepayers will be recovered,” said Mark Weston, chair of the Water Authority’s Board of Directors.  “But at the same time, it is greatly alarming to us that MWD continues to ignore the court’s rulings and overcharge San Diego County ratepayers by setting rates using the same flawed rate allocation that the judge found to be illegal.”

Despite the court’s ruling in two cases spanning four years of MWD’s rates – 2011-2014 – MWD is poised to adopt two more years of illegal rates – for 2017 and 2018 – at its April 12, 2016, board meeting. The Water Authority filed suit challenging MWD’s 2015 and 2016 rates, which also use the same illegal rate allocation. That case – which raises the same issues – has been stayed pending the outcome of appeals on the prior two cases.

“MWD has a clear obligation to set rates that conform to state law and the California Constitution,” said Dan Purcell, special counsel for the Water Authority with Keker & Van Nest, San Francisco. “The law requires it, a judge has ordered it, and the ratepayers of San Diego County deserve it.”

Continue reading at the San Diego County Water Authority here: Judge Awards $8.9 Million in Attorneys’ Fees to Water Authority in MWD Rate Case

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About News Worth Noting:  News Worth Noting is a collection of press releases, media statements, and other materials produced by federal, state, and local government agencies, water agencies, and academic institutions, as well as non-profit and advocacy organizations.  News Worth Noting also includes relevant legislator statements and environmental policy and legal analyses that are publicly released by law firms.  If your agency or organization has an item you would like included here, please email it to Maven.

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