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Ruling in Court Battle Between Goleta Water District, Slippery Rock Ranch Could Be Months Away

The long-running legal showdown between the Goleta Water District and owners of Slippery Rock Ranch in the Goleta foothills is expected to continue well into the next year.

The Santa Barbara County Superior Court civil trial ended in mid-October but attorneys from both sides will be submitting post-trial briefs to Judge James Herman for weeks to come.

Herman, who presided over the trial, told attorneys he likely won’t have a decision until 2017, said Mary McMaster, general counsel for the water district.

The complicated civil case deals with the groundwater below the private ranch land at 1735 N. La Patera Lane.

The Goleta Water District filed the lawsuit in February 2015 and claimed the ranch’s groundwater is within the watershed of its adjudicated Goleta Groundwater Basin. Attorneys for the ranch counter that the 800-acre property is not within the basin boundaries.

The water district claimed ranch owners want to export and sell the groundwater outside the Goleta Valley area, and asked the court for an injunction.

Attorneys for the ranch later filed a cross-complaint and asked for a court declaration that the ranch has rights to the groundwater and a right to export surplus water from the property.

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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