Agriculture · Hanford

Judge temporarily halts controversial Kings Co. water pipeline

Construction on a controversial water pipeline in Kings County has, once again, halted.

Earlier this week, a Kings County Superior Court Judge ordered a preliminary injunction on the pipeline owned by Sandridge Partners and Santa Clara County’s John Vidovich, as first reported by SJV Water.

Sandridge Partners is attempting to install a pipeline that is 48 inches in diameter that is part of a larger interconnected conveyance system that will run from north of Highway 198 west of Lemoore to the Blakeley Canal, south of Stratford. 

Vidovich has been locked in a contentious battle for several months with the Tulare Lake Canal Company. The canal would be placed under the Tulare Lake Canal, leading the company to file a lawsuit against Sandridge Partners.

Construction previously stopped on the pipeline earlier this year when the Tulare Lake Canal Company physically placed construction equipment on the property to prevent Sandridge Partners from installing the canal. 

Last week the Kings County Board of Supervisors held a special meeting to consider an emergency ordinance that temporarily halt all construction on agriculture pipelines that are greater than 24 inches in diameter. 

But faced with the possibility of potential litigation if the ordinance was enacted, the board declined to move forward with it, leaving Sandridge Partners with the green light to move forward with construction. 

However, the court’s decision this week comes from a January lawsuit filed by the Tulare Lake Canal Company contending that Sandridge Partners is trespassing on its facility. 

Both sides will return to court on May 25 to determine if the preliminary injunction will become permanent. 

The court will also move ahead with another lawsuit filed by the Tulare Lake Canal Company alleging that Sandridge Partners violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) by not conducting an environmental impact review on the project.

Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.