It’s set to be lawyer vs. lawyer, one side vs. the other at the Imperial Irrigation District, as both the consulting and contracted lawyers discuss the controversial transfer of water from the Imperial Valley to coastal urban areas.
Water and environmental lawyer Charles T. DuMars and the district’s water transfer attorney David Osias are set to speak at Tuesday afternoon’s meeting, though on different issues. DuMars will give his final report on a Plan B for the Quantification Settlement Agreement and Osias will answer questions on other issues related to the water transfer.
The QSA is a set of agreements to transfer IID-entitlement water to areas like Los Angeles and San Diego.
The agreement is currently in effect, though the case is at the Superior Court level in Sacramento as groups argue over environmental consequences of transferring water.
DuMars of the Law and Resource Planning Associates, P.C., a law firm out of New Mexico, was hired to come up with a Plan B should the transfer go away. He gave a sneak peek to what would be coming in the more than 100-page report ready for release this week when he gave his preliminary report in March.
Osias broke down some of DuMars’ points when he came last month, dismissing points as saying DuMars did not have the time to go through the millions of papers the QSA has yielded in the last decade. DuMars has been working on the report since he was hired in August.
Some have said Osias’ presentation has changed their perspective of what DuMars has said.
Board President John Pierre Menvielle said after Osias’ presentation that he thinks Osias gave a true representation of the facts of the QSA case. It straightened out some of the assumptions DuMars made in his presentation, he said.
DuMars is still useful working with the Water Conservation Advisory Board and on environmental issues, he said. However, Osias is the district’s litigation attorney.
“DuMars is not registered in California and should not be giving legal advice,” he said. “We have Mr. Osias for that.”
While Osias’ presentation influenced some opinions on DuMars, others showed continued support.
Imperial County Farm Bureau officials have put their support behind DuMars, including Executive Director Linsey Dale asking the IID board just a few weeks ago to consider implementing some of DuMars’ proposals. She said she’s anxious to see what will be presented this week.
DuMars’ work has cost pennies compared to what the IID has paid for its water transfer attorney, said Farm Bureau President Mark McBroom. And DuMars has been money well-spent by the district, he said.
“DuMars has told us nothing that gives us pause or concern,” he said, “other than he needs to continue what he’s doing.”
Staff Writer Elizabeth Varin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 760-337-3441.
If you go
What Imperial Irrigation District Board of Director’s meeting
When 1 p.m. Tuesday
Where W. R. Condit Auditorium, 1285 Broadway, El Centro
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