But how much is allocated for the Imperial Valley? Millions of acre-feet every year.
DuMars now says that 1980s decision that led to the largest agriculture-to-urban water transfer was based on incorrect facts and the district should take a formal position to reverse the state decision and take the stigma of wasting water away from this area.
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DuMars presented a series of recommendations to the local water district Tuesday, pointing out potential problems and issues with the Quantification Settlement Agreement, the agreement between IID and urban coastal water districts to send a portion of IID-entitlement Colorado River water out of the Imperial Valley.
DuMars was tasked with coming up with a plan B, taking a fresh look at the reasonable and beneficial use challenges to IID’s use of its water rights, ensuring agriculture in the Valley will remain sustainable, promote and support actual conservation of water without fallowing, addressing environmental costs to the region and ensuring the amount paid for water is sufficient to pay for all of the economic, environmental and social costs.
Many of the issues started in 1984 when the State Water Resources Control Board made its ruling, Decision 1600, DuMars said. However, that decision was based entirely on two incorrect factual premises, that allowing irrigation water to drain to the Salton Sea was not a reasonable and beneficial use of water and that the elevation of the sea would stabilize despite the transfer of water away from the IID.
“The Imperial Irrigation District is not a wasteful water agency,” DuMars said. “It never has been.”
IID was forced to engage in conservation practices that reduced the flow of drain water to the sea, he said. The district now knows, though, that the water sent to the sea is not a waste, as even the state board is directing water to go into the Salton Sea.
At the time, and even now, there is so much political pressure to move water out of the Valley, he said. Changing that Decision 1600, reversing it, could be the linchpin to straightening out other issues with the water transfer.
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.
Today Decision 1600 needs to be reversed
Friday Conservation plan is only theoretical
Saturday Financial implications need to be dealt with
Sunday More cooperation is needed