Federal court to consider damages, which could be millions

An 8-year-old lawsuit against the United States government for water promised to the Stockton area but only occasionally delivered may be nearing its culmination.

And the battle has grown heated.

Attorneys in Washington, D.C., on Friday will argue whether two Stockton-area water districts are entitled to cash damages after the districts – backed by Stockton ratepayers – built an expensive network of tunnels and canals to take water from New Melones Lake, only to see the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation refuse to turn the spigot.

The Stockton East Water District and Central San Joaquin Water Conservation District collectively ask for $37 million to $42 million in damages, money that could pay for projects to help restore this region’s diminished groundwater supply.

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