A hotly contested California water pipeline project in San Diego became more complicated in May 2021 when East County officials moved to take the East Mission Gorge Pump Station in Santee by eminent domain, citing that property is all the project needs for completion. A lengthy legal battle is still expected to take place, involving serious legal implications for the East County Advanced Water Purification Project and San Diego’s $5 billion Pure Water sewage recycling work.
What is at stake?
The issue appears to be who will pay for the project. The City of San Diego wants the eight-mile line to avoid contamination with its recycling project, but at the same time, city officials have appeared to renege on funding the project. The County has claimed that San Diego has refused to transfer ownership of the pump station, which is essential for the completion of the project that could provide up to 30% of East County’s water supply by 2026. East County officials have indicated that they don’t believe that discharge from the project will have any impact on the Pure Water project, which could provide more than 50% of San Diego’s water supply by 2035.
What happens when you get caught up in eminent domain?
This situation illustrates how property owners may get caught up in government projects that may involve eminent domain. Most projects involving eminent domain end up seeing completion. While fighting against eminent domain generally doesn’t produce favorable results, what property owners can do is fight to receive a fair value for their property as compensation.
If you have been offered an eminent domain settlement, taking the initial offer isn’t necessarily the best course as often the governmental body offering the settlement will try to lowball you. While you may not be able to save your property from the wrecking ball, you may be able to get a just and fair value for it, which will help you to move on.