Right of Way FAQ

An easement is a right to use property for a specific purpose. In the case of Water Authority easements, the Water Authority has purchased the right to occupy the easement area for the purpose of patrolling, constructing, maintaining and repairing its pipelines and other facilities in the easement area. The easement also allows the Water Authority to limit activities within the easement that conflict with its use.

The Water Authority staff responsible for managing the easement considers the property rights reserved to the owner and the rights granted to the Water Authority. These rights are all specified in the recorded grant of easement. In order to complement the easement document, the Water Authority adopted Chapter 7.00 of its Administrative Code to establish consistent regulations, policies, and procedures for the protection and preservation of the easement.

The Water Authority has the right to require a permit by virtue of the County Water Authority Act. A permit ensures that the proposed use does not interfere with the operation and maintenance of the pipelines and the inspection of the easement. A permit documents approved uses of the owner for improvements allowed by the Water Authority within the easement. A permit is mutually beneficial because it provides a detailed description of what has been allowed and the conditions under which the improvements may remain or may need to be removed. The permit process is further described in Chapter 7 of the Water Authority’s Administrative Code.

Unimpeded access enables Water Authority staff to patrol, operate, maintain, repair, and replace its pipelines which supply water to most of San Diego County’s residents. The right of way must remain accessible to Water Authority personnel at all times.

Trash dumped on the easement is a trespass issue that resides with the property owner. When owners have trespass issues like trash dumping or unauthorized entrance, the Water Authority attempts to work with the owner for reasonable solutions that will meet both the owner’s and Water Authority needs; however, removal of the trash is the property owner’s responsibility. Please call the Right of Way Property Manager Supervisor at (858) 522-6915.

Please call the Right of Way Property Manager Supervisor at (858) 522-6915.

Vegetation management and weed abatement is the responsibility of the property owner.

The Water Authority acquires both fee and easement interests in property for its projects. If all or a portion of your property is required for a Water Authority project, the Water Authority will hire an appraiser to determine the value of that area. A representative from the Water Authority will then contact you and present an offer to purchase the necessary property.

Offers by the Water Authority are based on fair market appraisals completed by independent appraisers. Property owners are welcome to provide data and input to both the appraiser and to the Water Authority representative during negotiations. Property owners may obtain their own appraisals to help determine value.

The Water Authority will make every effort to acquire the property by negotiated settlement with the owner. However, if the Water Authority and the property owner cannot agree on a sale, the Water Authority may consider the use of eminent domain or initiate legal proceedings in order to gain possession of the property. Compensation will then be determined by the court.

Yes. If you would like to have an attorney or anyone else represent you during negotiations, please inform the Water Authority in writing of your desire. However, the Water Authority is not required to pay the cost of any such representation.

In most areas, Records of Survey delineating existing Water Authority right-of-ways have been completed and filed with the San Diego County Recorders’ office. Please call Right of Way Property Management Supervisor at (858)-522-6915.

The property owner can contact the Right of Way section and request that the right-of-way be staked. Please call the Right of Way Property Management Supervisor at (858)-522-6915.

The Water Authority may stake its right-of-way as a courtesy and at no expense to the property owner.

The Water Authority can only stake the right-of-way as they pass through a property. A property owner should contract with a California Licensed Land Surveyor to determine private property lines or boundaries.

For further questions, write to the Right of Way section, San Diego County Water Authority, 4677 Overland Avenue, San Diego CA  92123 or call (858) 522-6900.