It’s one of the top messages consulting attorney Charles T. DuMars presented to the IID Board of Directors on Tuesday as he gave recommendations on where the district could take the nation’s largest agriculture-to-urban water transfer. The New Mexico water and environmental lawyer was hired last year to come up with a plan B for the Quantification Settlement Agreement, a set of agreements to send IID-entitlement water from the Colorado River to coastal urban areas like San Diego.
The issues have gotten so full of litigation, and there are a lot of lawyers spending and suing, so much so that the real parties can’t communicate, DuMars said.
Join the discussion and add your comments to this story! Scroll down or click here and tell us what you think.
Because of the QSA’s requirement to conserve water, the IID will have to work with farmers, including making agreements on where the district can save water, he said. However now a lot of what is happening is going on in the courtroom. To conserve water the farmers have to agree to put in the conservation measures, and those farmers are the experts on where the water-saving measures can go into place, he said while expounding the importance of communication.
There are also issues that the county is dealing with regarding air emissions, including its law suit with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency about high wind events dropping down the air quality, and it’s something the IID has a real interest in because of the air impacts of the Salton Sea, he said.
The IID has to take control of all major policy issues related to water allocation, conservation and environmental mitigation, he recommended. Water agency officials have to establish methods for direct communication with other groups outside of litigation.
Though no decisions are expected until after the final report is presented next month, board directors and member of the public complimented the idea of cooperation.
It makes no sense for the county and water district to be suing each other, as it’s just impacting residents in the area, said Farm Bureau President Mark McBroom on Tuesday. The district needs to look out for all the ratepayers.
Director Jim Hanks agreed.
“The most important message I heard today was we aren’t going to get there if we don’t start to communicate,” he said. “We have so many issues, and if we rely on litigation, especially from those who don’t live here, I don’t think there’s any hope for us.”
Staff Writer Elizabeth Varin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 760-337-3441.
More information about Charles T. DuMars’ recommendations for going forward with the Quantification Settlement Agreement has been published on previous days in the Imperial Valley Press.
Thursday — Decision 1600 needs to be reversed
Friday — Conservation plan is only theoretical
Saturday — Financial implications need to be dealt with
Today — More cooperation is needed