Yuba County Water Agency and Cordua Irrigation District are beginning a new chapter in the story of their relationship, having moved to one of collaboration and partnership, with the finalization of a recent settlement agreement.
Both entities today exchanged settlement checks, resolving several long-standing disagreements, including two lawsuits.
“Just as important as resolving old disputes, this settlement agreement provides a foundation for future cooperation and collaboration between YCWA and Cordua,” said YCWA Chairman Brent Hastey.
The procedures specified in the settlement agreement will expedite YCWA’s approval of Cordua’s 2018 water transfer program, resulting in significant Cordua efficiencies and cost savings, while maintaining measures to avoid adverse impacts to other water users.
“Yuba County is fortunate to have a nearly 100-year-old irrigation district in Cordua and an entity like YCWA managing the water and power resources for its citizens,” said Charley Mathews Jr., Cordua Irrigation District board member. “When water is involved, there are always situations where disagreements arise, but the professional courtesy exhibited by both sides moved what was a disagreement into a better understanding of the value of a long-term relationship going forward. The winners in the end are the citizens of Yuba County.”
The lawsuits and disputes between YCWA and Cordua that this agreement resolves include:
1. A lawsuit against YCWA seeking approximately $4.5 million in damages for a dispute dating back to 2015, in which YCWA did not approve a Cordua proposed groundwater substitution-based water transfer and sale.
2. A lawsuit against Cordua claiming California Environmental Quality Act and Brown Act violations relating to Cordua’s 2016 approval of a CEQA addendum for its groundwater substitution transfers to State Water Project contractors for 2016 through 2024.
3. A YCWA and Cordua dispute over the price owed by Cordua to YCWA for Yuba River Development Project water delivered in 2016.
Under the agreement, the lawsuits are dismissed and YCWA paid Cordua $675,000 to resolve the 2015 transfer request lawsuit, and Cordua paid YCWA $60,000 to resolve the 2016 project base supply billing dispute.