LOS ANGELES (CN) – An Antelope Valley landowner says surrounding cities and water companies have taken too much groundwater from under his and his neighbors’ properties. In a class action in Superior Court, Richard Wood says the defendants have taken more than their fair share of his water, and that he deserves a cut of the profits they made selling it.
Wood says the defendants – the cities of Los Angeles, Lancaster, and Palmdale, and Los Angeles County Water Works, Palmdale Water District, Littlerock Creek Irrigation District, Palm Ranch Irrigation District, Quartz Hill Water District, Antelope Valley Water Co., Rosamond Community Service District, Mojave Public Utility District and California Water Service Co. – have all taken “non-surplus” water from the aquifer, leaving too little water for the plaintiff class to use.
Wood says that wells once met Antelope Valley residents’ water needs, but that the water is drying up.
“In recent years, population growth and urban demands have led to increased pumping and declining groundwater levels,” the complaint states. “(A)t some yet unidentified point in the past, the Appropriators began to extract groundwater from the Antelope Valley to a point above and beyond an average annual safe yield.”
Wood says the defendants claimed that their need for the water usurped the class’s right to the water, claiming a “prescriptive right” to the water. He wants the court to determine the property owners’ rights to the water, because, he says, Southern California shows no signs of slowing its water consumption.