A ruling from the California 4th District Court of Appeal found San Juan Capistrano’s tiered water-rate system unconstitutional. The city charged water customers based on their usage, with prices ranging from about $2.50 to more than $9 per unit of water. Customers with the highest use paid more. Some sued, saying the system was arbitrary and unfair.
The court says the system violates Proposition 218, which prohibits government agencies from charging more than the cost of a service.
In a statement Governor Jerry Brown called the ruling "a straitjacket on local government at a time when maximum flexibility is needed." He says his policies will continue to "employ every method possible" to ensure water is conserved in the state.