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 paid for a poll last month that asked voters whether they would support the state seizing control of water supplies across the region, including much of the water used in San Diego. The $31,000 poll is part of an aggressive campaign the Water Authority is waging against another public water agency, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

Gov. Jerry Brown wants to build two 35-mile underground tunnels to keep water coming south through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta. The San Diego County Water Authority used to pine for such a plan. But now, emboldened by its drought-proofing projects and wary of shocking ratepayers, the agency is aggressively questioning Brown’s delta tunnels.