The ethics office within the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California was created to help temper the long feud between Met and the San Diego County Water Authority. Now it’s become another tool in the fight. Metropolitan’s board may vote to fire its ethics officer after she appeared to side with the Water Authority in two recent investigations.

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 San Diego County Water Authority’s “negativity” isn’t the official reason the group is not participating in talks about the future of California’s water supply, but at least one participant says the Water Authority’s long-running series of disputes with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California was a factor.

Representatives of the three states have been huddling behind closed doors and, for the first time ever, California water officials are offering to give up some of the state’s strongest claims to the Colorado River – at least temporarily. San Diego water officials are sitting on the sidelines, but that hasn’t stopped them from voicing strong opinions about a possible deal.