The district’s board needs to start discussions to take a critical look at where the money comes from should the state renege on its agreement to pay for restoration of the sea, reported the lawyer called in to form a path forward dealing with the nation’s largest agriculture-to-urban water transfer.
Stephen Curtice, a lawyer with the New Mexico law firm, presented financials about the first few years of the QSA since it was implemented in 2003, and projections for the future.
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“To some extent it appears the QSA revenues are being used to prop up the water department,” he said.
From 2003 to 2010, QSA funds have been used to support the IID water department to the tune of $93 million, he said. That left an additional $25 million from QSA revenues over expenses.
And that effect doesn’t look like it will end yet, as the projected budget is about $350 million in revenue over expenses without the QSA from 2007 to 2047. The QSA is anticipated to bring in $2.635 billion during that period.
However, if the state doesn’t take charge to mitigate costs of the Salton Sea, the district may be $1.3 billion dollars in the red, Curtice reported.
The IID needs to formally acknowledge that the state cannot be compelled to provide funding for the sea restoration, DuMars reported. He also recommended that the IID tell the other water agencies that the anticipated cost of mitigation should be allocated among the beneficiaries of the transfer: the coastal residents getting the water. Everyone needs to work to keep the costs down, but if it goes over they just can’t stop the funding.
Beyond that, the district board needs to address the fact that QSA funds have offset water funds, he said. There has to be some decision about what amount of QSA funds should be allocated to support other IID functions.
Staff Writer Elizabeth Varin can be reached at email@example.com or 760-337-3441.
More information about Charles T. DuMars’ recommendations for going forward with the Quantification Settlement Agreement will be published in the coming days in the Imperial Valley Press.
Thursday Decision 1600 needs to be reversed
Friday Conservation plan is only theoretical
Today Financial implications need to be dealt with
Sunday More cooperation is needed