FRESNO — Southern California's largest water supplier was temporarily blocked from buying sprawling farmland that could be used to help build twin tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, a court ruled Tuesday.
The state's 3rd District Court of Appeal in Sacramento granted a temporary restraining order the day before escrow was set to close on Metropolitan Water District's $175 million deal for 20,000 acres.
The ruling delays the district's purchase by no more than a few weeks, Metropolitan attorney Catherine Stites said.
"We don't believe it's a substantive decision," she said, adding that the court probably needs more time to review hundreds of pages of documents filed in the case.
Metropolitan will ultimately be cleared to buy the land at the hub of California's water system east of San Francisco and more than 300 miles north of Los Angeles, Stites said.