MWSD loses airport wells case; Feds now own wells

On February 26th the Montara Water and Sanitary District lost an important legal case which puts the fate of the airport wells in doubt. Those wells supply approximately sixty percent of the District’s water.

Here is the pdf of the judgment (click here).

The background to the case is convoluted but essentially MWSD desired to build a treatment facility next to the wells on county land. The airport opposed the building of the facility. MWSD offered to purchase the property but was rebuffed. It then sought to obtain the property through eminent domain proceedings.

The attempt to use eminent domain ran afoul of the language in the deed from the United States (which originally owned the land) to the county which allowed the United States to retake land if that property subject to local eminent domain proceedings. The United States intervened in the case to do so and the judge ruled in their favor.

In the end the wells are owned neither by the county or MWSD. The wells are now federal property.

No word yet on the potential for appeals or other action. There is also no word on how this will affect the water supply to the District and it rates.

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