California commission votes to eliminate Sativa Water District over brown water issues

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Thursday, July 12, 2018
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A California commission unanimously voted to eliminate the Sativa Water District, which serves parts of Compton and Willowbrook, over the issue of brown, smelly water.

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Compton and Willowbrook residents wanted to make sure their message was heard loud and clear during a hearing.

"We should have clean water here," one resident said.

Inside where a meeting was being held, residents told their stories. For months they have complained of brown, murky and smelly water coming out of their taps.

"It's very heartbreaking to see that we get dirty water. But it's more heartbreaking to get no response from Sativa," resident Martha Barajas said.

There are allegations the district has been mismanaged and it operated without enough oversight.

"They can't be trusted with the funds if they have sat up there all these years and nothing's been changed, they're not going to change," resident Karen Lewis said.

At the end of the meeting, a unanimous vote was made by the Local Agency Formation Commission to eliminate the Sativa Water District, which serves about 1,600 customers in Compton and Willowbrook. Supervisors said the county is ready to take control.

"We're going to start taking over and begin looking at their books to make sure that the district is running properly," Supervisor Janice Hahn said. "In the meantime, we're going to be looking for an agency to replace Sativa."

Attorney Mark Ravis said private companies could step up to provide some people with bottled water and relief until the situation is resolved.

The changes will take some time to take effect as all of it has to be approved by the State Water Board.