Limón Bill Closes Chapter On Ojai Community Control Over Water System

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

SACRAMENTO — Assembly Bill 1794, authored by Assemblymember Monique Limón (D-Santa Barbara), was signed into law by Governor Brown on Monday July 9th. The bill removes references to the Golden State Water Company on the Ojai Basin Groundwater Management Agency Board of Directors and replaces that position with a Resident Director Position chosen by the Board.

“AB 1794 ensures that the board of directors reflects the new configuration of water suppliers, and helps the new board function smoothly in its mission to preserve and protect the quantity and quality of groundwater in the Ojai Basin,” said Limón.

“The bill carried by our able legislative representative, Assemblymember Monique Limón, represents the end and the beginning of a new era for the Ojai basin.  The Board of Directors of the Ojai Basin Groundwater Management Agency look forward to having a full board to continue our work preserving and protecting our precious resource,” said Russ Baggerly, Member of the Ojai Basin Groundwater Management Agency Board of Directors.

On August 27th, 2013 almost 90 percent of voters approved a $60 million bond for the Casitas Municipal Water District to take over Golden State Water’s Ojai franchise by eminent domain.

On April 12th, 2017, the board of directors of Casitas Municipal Water District (CMWD) approved a settlement agreement with Golden State Water Company (GSWC), and a group of citizens referred to as Ojai Friends of Locally Owned Water (Ojai FLOW).  The settlement agreement resolved an eminent domain action and other litigation brought by CMWD and Ojai FLOW against GSWC.  Under the terms of the settlement agreement, CMWD acquired, by eminent domain, the operating assets of GSWC’s Ojai Water System for approximately $34.5 million.

On June 8th, 2017, CMWD assumed operational control of GSWC’s Ojai Water System.  Since that date, the OBGMA Board seat reserved for GSWC has been vacant.  This has left OBGMA to operate with a four person instead of a five person board.  As a result of the eminent domain, GSWC no longer operates or has a financial stake on the Ojai area.  The OBGMA wants the Legislature to modify its board of directors to reflect the new composition of the relevant water agencies in the area.

Monique Limón represents the 37th Assembly District, which includes Santa Barbara, Ventura, Goleta, Carpinteria, Ojai, Santa Paula, Fillmore, Buellton, Solvang, Summerland, Isla Vista, Montecito and parts of Oxnard. She currently serves as Chair of the Assembly Banking and Finance Committee, and Co-Chair of the Select Committee on Natural Disaster Response, Recovery and Rebuilding.

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