GrokSurf's San Diego

Local observations on water, environment, technology, law & politics

San Diego files second lawsuit in groundwater dispute with Sweetwater Authority

Posted by George J Janczyn on December 21, 2010

The City of San Diego’s ongoing legal dispute over Sweetwater Authority’s project to expand groundwater pumping from the San Diego Formation aquifer has escalated with the filing of a second lawsuit.

The City’s first lawsuit, filed March 26, 2010, challenged Sweetwater’s certification of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and project approval (for background and a copy of that lawsuit see my October 28 report as updated December 8). The City alleged that its formally stated concerns about groundwater depletion/overdraft in the San Diego Formation, saltwater intrusion, land subsidence, brine discharge, and other issues were rejected or ignored by Sweetwater.

Subsequently, after some procedural errors in the approval process were discovered, Sweetwater Authority revisited its decision and again approved the project on November 10 (the U-T reported on that in this report).

San Diego’s newest lawsuit filed December 9 again challenges Sweetwater’s EIR certification and seeks to set aside Sweetwater’s November 10 action reaffirming project approval.

Significantly, going further, the new lawsuit also seeks the court’s declaration of San Diego’s Pueblo water rights in the San Diego Formation. Specifically, it asks:

For a declaration that the City was at the commencement of this action and now is the owner in fee simple of the prior and paramount right to the use of all the water of the San Diego Formation underlying the former Pueblo of San Diego, including all waters tributary thereto whether beneath the Pueblo or not, for the use of the City and of its inhabitants for all purposes and that Respondent Sweetwater and all other respondents have not and no one or more of them have any estate, right, title or interest in or to said waters, or any part thereof, or in the use of the same, or any right to take or use said waters, or any part thereof, save in subordination and subject to said prior and paramount right of the City.

Here is a copy of the new lawsuit:


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