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California drought: High court hands setback to water conservation fight

Posted By Administration, Thursday, July 23, 2015

Rejecting the pleas of California officials worried about water conservation, the state Supreme Court on Wednesday left intact a lower court ruling that makes it tougher for cities and water districts to impose punishing higher rates on water wasters.

In its weekly closed-door conference, the Supreme Court refused to soften the statewide impact of an April appeals court ruling that found the city of San Juan Capistrano's tiered water rates -- common in the Bay Area and elsewhere in California -- were unconstitutional because they charged more for water than it cost the city to provide the service.

The appeals court, in finding the city's approach violated voter-approved Proposition 218's restrictions on such fees, "published" the decision, giving it legal weight across the state and prompting Gov. Jerry Brown to warn it placed a "straitjacket" on his mandates to lower water use. 

Read the whole story at Mercury News

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