California farmer calls new water restrictions unfair

Landowner Alegretti and Co. applied with the county for apermit to reactivate a well to withdraw water from the aquifer beneath its farmproperty. The purpose was to add 200 acres for farming.

The county approved the permit but limited Alegretti toextracting no more than 12,000 acre feet per year of water from the aquiferunderlying its property.

Purchase Bob Bruss reports online.

Believing this restriction was an unfair governmentalinverse taking of private-property use, Alegretti sued the county for exceedingits authority under local water-use ordinances. Alegretti argued the county hadauthority to approve well permits, but not to regulate the maximum annual wateruse.

If you were the judge would you rule Alegretti can berestricted as to the amount of annual well-water use for farming?

The judge said yes!

The county has the right to issue well-water permits and torestrict the maximum annual water use for the benefit of all landowners whoshare the use of the underground aquifer water, the judge began.

Such restrictions do not constitute a physical or regulatorytaking of Allegretti’s property because he can still use the existing wells onother portions of his land, the judge ruled. Therefore, the county’srestriction on annual water use is not unreasonable, the judge concluded.

Based on the 2006 California Court of Appeal decision in Allegretti& Co. v. County of Imperial, 42 Cal.Rptr.3d 122.

(For more information on Bob Bruss publications, visit his
Real Estate Center

Copyright 2006 Inman News

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