The Rosamond Community Services District (RCSD) filed a
lawsuit today against corporate giants Diamond Farming Company and
Bolthouse Farms over access to the Antelope Valley's groundwater
basin. The District's action, designed to protect the community's
current and future water supply, is in response to existing lawsuits
filed by Diamond and Bolthouse in 1999 and 2001, respectively, against
Rosamond and other public agencies.
Diamond (owned by Grimmway Farms) and Bolthouse are seeking to
take a larger share of water from the Antelope Valley groundwater
basin, which provides over 60 percent of Rosamond's water. Bolthouse
and Grimmway, both based in Bakersfield, are multi-million-dollar
carrot corporations that together control roughly 90 percent of the
nation's carrot market.
"Our number one priority is to ensure the people of Rosamond have
access to a reliable supply of safe, affordable water," said Daniel
Landsgaard, Rosamond Community Services District board president. "The
RCSD filed this lawsuit to protect the present and future water supply
for all of Rosamond, for the livelihood of our families, schools,
businesses, parks and more."
Bob Vincelette, a Southern Kern Unified School District board
"This lawsuit is about keeping water rates affordable for our
community by protecting the local water supply and reducing our
dependence on imported water," said Vincelette.
The cross-complaint seeks declaratory and injunctive relief and an
adjudication of water rights in the Antelope Valley groundwater basin.
The District hopes that the adjudication will lead to a "physical
solution," which is a legal term used to describe a long-term
basin-wide management program that is often overseen by a
"Unfortunately, the two large corporations in this lawsuit have
held the Rosamond community hostage by monopolizing our water supply
and continuing to irresponsibly pump more than their fair share from
the groundwater basin," said Landsgaard. "This lawsuit is about
protecting our community's fair share of water, preventing corporate
monopolies and keeping water rates affordable."
Rosamond's current water supply is a combination of local
groundwater and imported State Water Project water purchased through
the Antelope Valley East Kern Water Agency (AVEK). Rosamond began
using imported water because of its concern about the groundwater
basin not being able to support pumping.
Historically, Rosamond has pumped roughly 2,200 acre-feet (about
717 million gallons) water annually from the Antelope Valley, enough
water to supply an estimated 4,400 homes per year.
With Rosamond filing a cross-complaint in response to the Diamond
and Bolthouse lawsuits, the Rosamond Community Services District
anticipates that other public agencies, such as the City of Palmdale
and the City of Lancaster, will do the same.
In late 2004, Los Angeles County Waterworks District 40 filed a
lawsuit naming many of the same agencies in order to give them a say
if and when the water rights are adjudicated.
Soon after, in January of this year, L.A. County Waterworks
District No. 40 filed the Petition for Coordination to consolidate
Diamond's and Bolthouse's actions, filed in Riverside County, with the
L.A. County district's action, filed in L.A. and Kern Counties. In
April, the water district, the City of Palmdale, Palmdale Water
District, Quartz Hill Water District and the City of Lancaster filed a
supplemental brief urging the court to coordinate the corporations'
actions and L.A. County's adjudication.
All three actions have now been coordinated in Los Angeles County
Superior Court. Judge Jack Komar, a neutral judge from the Santa Clara
County Superior Court, has been appointed to preside over the action.
Diamond and Bolthouse argued that the actions and adjudications should
Since the actions sought by the corporations are not full water
basin adjudications, the public agencies expressed that it is
virtually meaningless and legally unfeasible to proceed with the
actions without bringing together other producers in the basin and
conducting a full basin adjudication.
At a San Jose conference hearing in September, Judge Komar
instructed L.A. County Waterworks District 40 to serve all property
owners of more than 100 acres with the lawsuit within 30 days,
including Edwards Air Force Base.
More about the Rosamond Community Services District
Voted into existence in 1966, the RCSD strives to provide
effective and efficient services that preserve the community's quality
of life, enhancing the economical, environmental and social well-being
that makes Rosamond a better place to live, work and play. The
District provides water for domestic, irrigation and fire flow,
collects and treats waste and storm water, maintains street lights,
oversees parks and recreation and provides graffiti abatement.
For more information, visit www.rosamondcsd.com.