The state Water Resources Control Board Wednesday turned over management of the troubled Sativa Water District, which has been under fire for delivering brown water to customers in Willowbrook and Compton, to Los Angeles County.
The county has been pushing for months to assume control of the district, accusing it of shirking its responsibilities to its customers -- most notably when residents began reporting the murky water coming from their taps earlier this year.
According to the state water board, Sativa "has consistently failed to provide customers ... with a reliable and adequate supply of pure, potable water as required by the California Health and Safety Code." The board's action Wednesday appoints the county Department of Public Works as a temporary administrator of the water district, pending a decision by the Los Angeles Local Agency Formation Commission on dissolving the district and transferring its operations to another company.
Los Angeles County officials, including Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas, will hold a news conference Thursday to discuss the county's takeover of the district.
Four water companies have previously expressed interest in taking over the district: California American Water, a subsidiary of American Water; Golden State Water Company, a subsidiary of American States Water Company; Liberty Utilities Co., a subsidiary of Canadian company Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp.; and Suburban Water Systems, a subsidiary of SouthWest Water Company.
The first three parent companies are publicly traded and the fourth is owned by institutional investors advised by J.P. Morgan Asset Management.