At very least, an appellate court ruling this week is a momentary setback for the San Diego County Water Authority at crucial time in California water policy and politics. The Water Authority has two major decisions to make by the end of the year and the ruling plays some part in each of them.

The 2,100-unit Newland Sierra development near San Marcos hasn’t been approved yet. So environmentalists want to know why it’s included among several already approved projects in a North County conservation plan, which could give its developers substantial benefits.

The city’s Climate Action Plan has won national praise for its ambitious goals and enforcement mechanisms. But when the plan was being written in 2014, city staffers said one of the plan’s main goals wasn’t based on anything and that they didn’t think the city had any real chance of reaching it, according to emails released by the city as part of a public records request.