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Area cities settle suit with Water Replenishment District

DOWNEY — Litigation filed by the cities of Downey, Bellflower, Cerritos and Signal Hill five years ago, alleging that the Water Replenishment District of Southern California had adopted replenishment assessments in violation of Proposition 218 has been settled, a Downey spokesperson said.

Under the settlement, the water district will pay the cities’ attorneys’ fees and related expenses in the amount of $4 million. The district also will fund $5 million in water basin improvement projects within the four cities over the next seven years and may meet that obligation through any combination of state and federal grants or its own funding sources, the spokesperson added.

“Our goal has always been to protect the best interests of our residents while safeguarding the central groundwater basin, which is the source of water for Downey,” Mayor Luis Marquez said.

Under the agreement, all city projects will provide regional benefits, reduce reliance on imported sources of water or enhance water security in the basin.

In the next few weeks, the cities and the district will seek dismissal by the court of all pending actions against one another, the spokesperson said.