Yet a majority of board members saw it as an option to improve the future of the Salton Sea.
The cost-sharing agreement will allow the district to finalize an environmental review process required to change Salton Sea mitigation requirements.
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IID petitioned the State Water Resources Control Board in October to eliminate the district’s water transfer requirement sending mitigation water to the Salton Sea between 2014 and 2017. That water would instead be transferred and the proceeds would be used to develop habitat and air-mitigation projects that district officials have said will have a better environmental impact in the long run.
SDCWA board approved the agreement two weeks ago.
Though no buyer has yet been finalized, the district will likely sell to one of the water agencies it already partners with or the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.
For board President John Pierre Menvielle, it’s all good.
While some have said it is another water transfer, the money is going to be used for real projects to help, he said. It gives the district a chance to take another look at how to deal with the Salton Sea.
“Basically we’re trying to take care of ourselves, even though there are people who say the state is supposed to take care of it,” he said.
Director Jim Hanks disagreed, saying that there’s risk with transferring the water. He’s always been for keeping the water in the Imperial Valley.
“I think down the road we’re going to need all the water here,” he said. “I don’t want the water to leave the Valley. We need it here.”
Both Hanks and board Vice President Matt Dessert voted against the cost-sharing agreement and the three service agreements for environmental work.
It’s the same old Quantification Settlement Agreement with the same old problems, Dessert said. While the water agencies were supposed to be working on coming to an agreement, there’s still a lack of funding for the Salton Sea and the impacts on the sea.
“Just as in the last 10 years we’ve learned about the deficiencies of the QSA, especially with the environmental, we’ve also learned about the deficiencies in the financials,” he said. “… The more we transfer, the more it costs us.”
Here are three things that came out of Tuesday’s Imperial Irrigation District Board of Director meeting.
1 — Staff presented information on progress made with e-mail server security and ethical issues dealing with the district’s electronic information resources.
2 — District General Manager Kevin Kelley reviewed board assignments to deal with the six-point plan, with President John Pierre Menvielle handling the water issues, Stella Mendoza with energy issues, Jim Hanks with finances, Anthony Sanchez with ethics and Vice President Matt Dessert with advocacy.
3 — IID board members and staff gave their condolences to Director Matt Dessert for the loss of his brother-in-law Randy Carson.
Staff Writer Elizabeth Varin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 760-337-3441.