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By declaring a water shortage emergency condition and enacting a moratorium on new water service, the District is acting in a legislative, rather than an adjudicatory, capacity. Thus the District's actions are not subject to judicial review under Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 1094.5, but are reviewable only by means of ordinary mandate, Cal. Civ. Proc. Code §1085, where the court is limited to a determination of whether the District's actions are arbitrary, capricious or entirely lacking in evidentiary support, or whether it failed to follow the procedure and give the notices required by law.
Defendant Marin Municipal Water District adopted a resolution, finding that water consumption was outpacing water capacity in the district, and declared a water shortage emergency. Plaintiff Albert Swanson, who had already obtained approval of his plans and a building permit, applied for a pipeline extension to bring water to the home he planned to build in the district. Defendant then amended the water code to provide that no new water service would be granted or installed, and rejected plaintiff's application. Plaintiff filed for a writ of mandate to compel defendant to grant him water service, which the trial court granted. Defendant challenged the judgment.
Under the circumstances, could the trial court compel the defendant to grant plaintiff’s water service, notwithstanding the amendment in the water code?
On appeal, the court reversed, holding that because defendant had acted in a legislative, rather than adjudicatory, capacity in enacting the moratorium on new water service, its actions were subject to a limited review. The court held that defendant did not act fraudulently, arbitrarily or capriciously in declaring a water shortage emergency condition to exist and in enacting a water moratorium on new water service connections; hence, the trial court exceeded the limited scope of its review in granting plaintiff the writ of mandate.