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IID Water Use Plan Passes by 3-2 Vote

By Kelly Grant
The Imperial Valley Press, June 27, 2001

The Imperial Irrigation District Board of Directors passed by a 3-2 vote Tuesday a resolution supporting legislation to implement several water use and distribution plans.

The issues in the resolution include the quantification settlement agreement, California's Colorado River use plan and the restoration of the Salton Sea.

The resolution, originally presented to the board at a previous meeting, was modified to address some of the concerns voiced by board members then.

The new language includes statements that the IID cannot take a position on a Salton Sea restoration plan until its impacts have been studied and that legislation must protect the IID from liability from effects to the Salton Sea or its bordering areas when the plans are implemented.

It was with these modifications that the board passed the item.

Director Stella Mendoza, who voted against the resolution, said the board needs more time before passing a resolution like this.

"We're just jumping the gun," she said.

A finalized quantification agreement has yet to be completed and a preferred Salton Sea restoration project yet to be named, both of which are important components of the resolution.

"We're putting the cart before the horse," said Director Bruce Kuhn, who also voted against the resolution.

"We're asking for funding for a report that's not complete," Kuhn said.

Kuhn also took issue with the lumping together of several issues that started separately, he said.

According to the meeting's agenda, the Coachella Valley Water District, Metropolitan Water District and San Diego County Water Authority have adopted similar resolutions of support.

The Salton Sea Authority was scheduled to vote on a similar resolution at a meeting today.

Director and Board President Andy Horne said that he, too, is concerned about the position in which passing the resolution will put the IID.

It's going to be difficult to get all these things done to all the interested parties' satisfaction, Horne said.

"It's our goal and also our responsibility to attempt to do just that," Horne said.

In the end, the desire to move these issues forward won out as Horne and directors Lloyd Allen and Rudy Maldonado voted to pass the resolution.

The quantification settlement establishes IID's right to 3.1 million acre-feet of Colorado River water each year. It also calls for the annual transfer of 200,000 and 100,000 acre-feet of water to SDWA and CVWD, respectively.

Staff Writer Kelly Grant can be reached at 337-3441.