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Published July 10th, 2019
Town of Moraga and EBMUD in talks to avoid litigation

During a Special Closed Session of the June 12 town council meeting, council members had authorized legal council to initiate litigation proceedings against East Bay Municipal Utility District, going so far as to commit $100,000 to get the ball rolling. But after a Special Closed Session meeting on June 26 concerning an update to the litigation proceedings, Vice Mayor Kymberleigh Korpus announced, "The town and EBMUD have begun to engage in productive settlement discussions that the parties would like to pursue further. The town will therefore be deferring filing suit against EBMUD at this time."
Moraga Mayor Roger Wykle had stated at the June 12 meeting that the litigation was "primarily due to the fact that continuous discussions with EBMUD have not been successful and they are not taking responsibility for the damages their landslide has caused to the old bridge, the temporary bridge and the increases in the design and construction costs of the new bridge."
Wykle stated that EBMUD's hands-off approach had jeopardized the town's progress in regards to receiving funding in order to begin design and construction of the new bridge.
Public Works Director Edric Kwan agreed, underscoring the town's frustration with EBMUD's landslide inaction. "The pedestrian walkway should have opened in May."
EBMUD Senior Public Information Representative Andrea Pook contended, "Records dating back to the 1970s show that EBMUD warned the Town of Moraga that urban runoff caused by the then-planned development [Moraga Country Club] could significantly change the characteristics of the creek." She added, "The impacts of these flows and the resulting erosion were part of a study commissioned by the Town of Moraga in 1981, which showed that the creek has fundamentally changed due to storm events, and recommended that the town take measures to protect the creek banks."
Pook went on to explain that EBMUD is seeking emergency funds through a FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant to help repair the damages, but unfortunately the wait time for approval doesn't match up with Moraga's new Canyon Bridge construction schedule.
Pook acknowledged that EBMUD was disappointed that the town had authorized initiation of litigation concerning the 2016 and 2017 landslides adjacent to Moraga Creek but added, "EBMUD and the Town of Moraga have been, and are continuing to discuss an acceptable resolution to the problems caused by natural disasters."

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