Source: Valley Roadrunner

Yuima loses fight, plans appeal

by Kim Harris

October 08, 2013

A recent ruling by California Superior Court could have harsh affects on those living in the Yuima Water District according to Linden Burzell, general manager.

The decision, issued last week by Judge Robert Dahlquist of the North County Superior Court, comes following a petition filed by Yuima Water district appealing a lower court’s ruling against it in a case filed by Rancho Pauma Mutual Water Company. The decree upholds the earlier judgment regarding groundwater rights in The Pauma Valley.

The order states Yuima may only draw 1,350 acre-feet of water per year from the five shared wells, severely limiting the amount of water they can provide to Pauma Valley farmers and ranchers without purchasing additional water from another source.

“If the ruling stands … it will have a significant effect on the district rates” Burzell told the Valley Roadrunner in a phone interview. “It will require we purchase additional water from the San Diego Water District at significantly higher rates.”

Those rates would then have to be passed on to consumers, Burzell said.

While the judge declined to award any damages to Palomar Mutual Water Company, Burzell believes the ruling doesn’t correctly interpret the original judgment entered in 1953 and known as the Strub Agreement.

“We honored that agreement,” Burzell said, noting that Yuima Water District doesn’t believe this judgment is necessarily the final word on the matter and plans to appeal to protect its customers from rate increases.

“This is prejudicing the rights of a group of people here in the valley.”

Rancho Pauma Administrator Mindy Houser could not be reached for comment prior to press time.

Correction: An earlier version of this article misspelled the name of Linden Burzell