In the world of water politics, there are few relationships as fraught as the one between the San Diego County Water Authority and its larger rival, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.
The groups, two of the country’s largest water agencies, fought each other again and again this year over policies that affect the water supplies of 19 million Californians.
San Diego relies on Metropolitan for most of its water, which Metropolitan brings into Southern California from Northern California and the Colorado River. San Diego is also Metropolitan’s biggest customer and has seats on Metropolitan’s board, which meets in Los Angeles.
The biggest round in the bout went to San Diego, which won $235 million from Metropolitan earlier this year. A judge ruled that Metropolitan charged too much to deliver some water to San Diego from the Colorado River. Metropolitan will appeal that ruling. So far, the two agencies have spent more than $30 million in legal fees on the case.