A state appeals court on Wednesday upheld a landmark agreement on how Southern California gets its water, overruling a judge who called the method unconstitutional.
The decision by California's 3rd Appellate District Court is a major victory for backers of the accord that created the nation's largest farm-to-city water transfer and set new rules for how the state divides its share of the Colorado River.
The case is being closely watched in six other western states and Mexico, which share water from the 1,450-mile river that runs from the Rocky Mountains to the Sea of Cortez.
A three-judge panel in Sacramento disagreed with a lower court judge who found the state violated its Constitution by essentially writing a blank check to save the Salton Sea in rural Imperial Valley. California's largest lake is rapidly shrinking, and the transfer of water from Imperial Valley to San Diego threatens to accelerate its decline.