The Imperial Integrated Regional Water Management Plan, which outlines the first countywide strategy to address water supply and infrastructure issues, could be approved by the Board of Supervisors today.
This document, which outlines capital projects for the long run, has taken at least two years to develop through a series of meetings.
“We’ve had a number of stakeholders’ meeting during that period of time,” county Deputy Executive Officer Andy Horne said. He explained the county, the city of Imperial, the Imperial Irrigation District and the Imperial County Farm Bureau were some of the groups “that have come up with at least an outline of a plan for regional cooperation.”
This state-mandated “living” document is also a requirement to access grants and bond moneys for future projects, said Tina Shields, IID assistant water department manager, who considered this document “a road map for the future” and “a very big step for (the) local community.”
The county could become the first agency to approve this documentation, which needs the approval of at least three agencies so it can be adopted. “Once three agencies approve the plan, you have basically adopted a plan that makes those agencies eligible for funding,” Shields said.
About 40 projects are ranked and listed in the plan and these would be built as funding become available. One of those projects is Imperial’s proposed water and wastewater treatment plant, said Horne, a project that is now in the conceptual stages but if built could serve the Keystone Planning Area and Brawley. With this document the county is also looking to access a $5.5 million grant available to the region as early as next year, Horne said.
The plan is “a good first step in regional cooperation, in getting people here in the Valley (to) start working together on water issues rather than some of the more contentious-type discussions that have been going on down here; and I really do think there is an opportunity here to get people working together on what has been in the past a controversial issue,” Horne said.
Staff Writer Alejandro Davila can be reached at 760-337-3445 or firstname.lastname@example.org
If you go
What Imperial County Board of Supervisors meeting
When 8:30 a.m.
Where 940 Main St., Suite 211, El Centro
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