The eminent domain battle between California American Water and the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District, also known as the District, shows no signs of being resolved any time soon. California American Water announced it will fight the case and continue to operate its Monterey Peninsula Water System.
California American Water vs. Monterey Peninsula Water Management District
The District filed an eminent domain action to get control of the Monterey Peninsula Water System. However, California American Water owns the Monterey Peninsula Water System and has no intentions of giving it up.
California American Water states the District doesn’t have the authority to claim eminent domain or the expertise to operate the water system. They also state that putting the water system in less-experienced hands doesn’t benefit customers or the public and that a better solution is for both water companies to work together.
What does eminent domain mean?
Eminent domain is a legal action that allows the government to take private property for public use. For example, a state might need land to build a public park, road or school. The government can claim eminent domain and get the land it needs, even if the owner doesn’t want to sell the property.
A property owner can’t refuse eminent domain because it’s a right granted to the government by the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The only stipulation is that the owner receives compensation based on the fair market value of the property.
Is it possible to contest eminent domain?
An owner can contest eminent domain if they prove the government isn’t using the property in the public’s best interest. An owner can also fight the case if they prove the government hasn’t offered them fair value for the property.