The Imperial Valley agricultural community may present the Imperial Irrigation District with a proposal within the next 90 days that addresses the many challenges the IID is facing in regard to its overconsumption of water and the necessity to conserve water.
The IID’s Water Conservation Advisory Board approved a motion Thursday to form a subcommittee to create a plan that addresses water apportionment, on-farm and system water conservation as well as the district’s fallowing program in a holistic manner, and to present it to the IID for action by April 1.
While it is too early to tell what the proposal will look like, “straight-line allocation” of water may be one component. Straight-line allocation — if utilized to apportion water — would take the total amount of water available and divide it by the number of acres to be irrigated.
The exact composition of the subcommittee is not yet certain, but it will likely include members of the WCAB, the Imperial County Farm Bureau, the Imperial Valley Vegetable Growers Association, IID directors and staff.
The WCAB is a committee of 15 water users that advises the IID Board of Directors on water issues, from conservation to management.
The IID is grappling with a number of issues in regard to use of water. It has consumed more than its approved order of water two years in a row. Low water levels at Lake Mead have triggered an accelerated timeframe in which the district needs to pay back to the Colorado River its overrun of water. The district also has water transfer obligations under the Quantification Settlement Agreement, the nation’s largest agriculture-to-urban water transfer. Perhaps underscoring the urgency of the matter, Thursday’s WCAB meeting was attended by IID Directors Matt Dessert, Jim Hanks and Steve Benson, and General Manager Kevin Kelley.
Both Kelley and Benson urged the agricultural community to work with the IID in resolving its water issues.
“I want to push you guys to take a leadership role,” Benson said.
“Unlimited water supplies do not exist anymore,” said IID Assistant Water Manager Tina Shields, speaking after the meeting. “We have to manage what we have.”
Staff Writer Antoine Abou-Diwan can be reached at 760-337-3454 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Join the discussion and add your comments to this story! Scroll down or click here and tell us what you think.