Water agency blamed for damage to homes
A group of La Quinta homeowners took the first step to suing the Coachella Valley Water District on Friday, claiming the agency's overuse of groundwater and the resulting sinking of the valley is damaging their homes.Officials predict it will not be the last lawsuit the water district faces related to subsidence - the sinking of the valley floor caused when more groundwater is used than returned. It's a potentially costly offshoot of a growing western water crisis caused by continuing drought, explosive growth, soaring demand and threatened water supplies. Water district general manager Steve Robbins said he's not surprised by the homeowners' claim, a precursor to a lawsuit, served on the agency Friday.A December report from U.S. Geological Survey confirmed that subsidence is continuing in the valley, more than a foot in some places over the past nine years and 3 to 4 inches in just the past two years in the PGA West area."I just expected whenever people have a problem with something, they always look for anybody they can go after," Robbins said. "When the U.S. Geological Survey put the study out that said we have continuing subsidence, I figured it was a matter of time before somebody tried to sue somebody over it."