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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary

Water Board OKs Some of Reforms Sought by Cities

August 05, 2000

CERRITOS — Under pressure from a coalition of cities in Los Angeles County, the board of the Water Replenishment District agreed Friday to changes designed to make the agency more responsive to the cities it serves, according to a Lakewood city official.

The most significant change was a decision to expand the board from five to eight members, with the three new seats to be reserved for water industry professionals or elected officials. But because the board did not agree to all the reforms asked for by the Municipal Water Consumers Alliance, alliance spokesman Don Waldie said his group has not decided whether it will drop its lawsuits against the agency.

The water district is responsible for purchasing water that is pumped back into the ground in parts of Los Angeles County; cities are then charged a replenishment fee for that service. But member cities have long complained that the agency sets rates too high and "is remote and unresponsive to the needs of its consumers," Waldie said.

Last year the Alliance sued the district. Some cities within the alliance have also threatened to break away and form their own authority.

Waldie said the actions taken Friday are a hopeful sign. "We think they are moving toward reform," he said.

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