More money will go toward fallowing fields in Imperial Valley after the local utility approved an increase in the allocation per acre-foot.
The Imperial Irrigation District will now pay $125 per acre-foot for water fallowed from local fields. The district is trying to contract 170,000 acre-feet as part of the water transfer with San Diego.
To date, the district has more than 100,000 acre-feet contracted, said Tina Shields, assistant water manager. However, that’s far below where the district needs to be to meet its current obligations, and it will “have to play catch up.”
The district is having to contract for all of the 2012-2013 cycle, as well as half of the 2011-2012 cycle, as only half of the previous year had been contracted, she said. This was due to the district not knowing how a lawsuit against the water transfer would turn out.
The change will affect those who already have a fallowing contract for this next cycle, she said.
The board approved the extra funding, but it was not without its critics.
Stephen Benson, a candidate for Stella Mendoza’s Division 4 seat, said that if the district increases the funding, it lowers the incentive to do on-farm conservation. It’s having to spend money for capital costs to conserve or getting free money for not working.
The issue isn’t about fallowing today, but rather the long-term impacts, he said.
President of the Board John Pierre Menvielle said that though it’s a controversial subject, the district has to move forward. It’s part of the contractual obligations of the water transfer.
The board voted 4-1 to approve the extra money, with Director Jim Hanks voting against the motion.
Staff Writer Elizabeth Varin can be reached at email@example.com or 760-337-3441.
Here are three things that happened at Tuesday’s Board of Directors meeting.
1 - The board approved a plan to go to 24-hour real time energy trading, a move that is expected to save millions each year.
2 - IID will soon be up to 18 percent renewable-powered energy after the board approved a contract for biomass energy from a local facility.
3 - The district is holding off on a vote to issue hundreds of millions of dollars in commercial paper for some capital projects. IID Board of Directors OKs increase in the price of fallowed water
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