By Joe Naiman
Village News Correspondent 

RMWD approves ordinance to assign water rights


Last updated 9/24/2018 at 9:10am

A new Rainbow Municipal Water District policy requires the assignment of water rights and water production facilities to the Rainbow district as a condition of the district providing water service.

Rainbow's board voted 5-0 Aug. 28 to adopt the new ordinance which conditions new water service on a landowner's agreement to assign his or her water rights to the district along with any water production facilities such as groundwater wells and storage facilities which may exist on the property.

"It provides the framework for the district to discuss with the developer the transfer of the water rights," said Rainbow general manager Tom Kennedy. "We want to make sure there's a process for which the rights will transfer over to our district."

The increased cost of water has caused the Rainbow district to investigate the feasibility of extracting groundwater. The increased cost of water purchases has also led to homeowners, homeowners' associations, and growers drilling new wells. The creation of new wells could adversely affect the district's groundwater supply due to potential seawater intrusion, contamination, or overdrafts. If Rainbow customers draw water from wells the distribution of well water to the property could also create "stranded" district infrastructure installed to serve the property.

Rainbow has the authority to deny applications for new or additional service connections which do not adhere to water conservation restrictions, and many municipalities and water districts require the assignment of water rights and water production facilities as a condition to receive retail water service. That practice is more common where agricultural or other non-urban properties are converted to urban lands served by an urban water retailer.

Under the new Rainbow ordinance the district would record the agreement which would cover all parcels comprising the property for which the new or intensified water service is requested. The agreement would cover the land and thus would be binding on all successors of the property ownership.

"If you want municipal services, part of the deal is you assign those rights to us," Kennedy said.


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