The Imperial Irrigation District may start to fallow land converted from agriculture to solar usage, though a final plan on how to do it is still in the works.
District staff presented an initial concept Tuesday that they hope to bring back to the board later this month.
The item was brought before the board now so when it comes up for approval later this month the board can take quick action, said Tina Shields, assistant water department manager. Draft policies and contracts are being developed to be incorporated into the water supply agreement template.
Initially the program will be geared toward solar, but it won’t be limited to that, she said.
The district already has a fallowing program in place for farming, and that water is sent on to urban coastal areas as part of the water transfer.
Not all were in favor of using the water from fallowing solar fields to transfer.
Imperial County Farm Bureau President Mark McBroom said that the bureau wants the water to remain in the Valley. The water should go to where it will be used locally.
“The water users of Imperial County, we covet this water,” he said.
Without water, you might as well pave over the land for parking lots, he said.
“We’re not looking to be in the business of parking,” he added. “We’re in the business of producing crops.”
A decision like this should go to the IID’s Water Conservation Advisory Board to discuss, too, because it applies to water, he said.
Staff Writer Elizabeth Varin can be reached at email@example.com or 760-337-3441.
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