EL CENTRO — Imperial County Superior Court Judge L. Brooks Anderholt could rule as early as today on whether to grant an injunction that would stop Imperial Irrigation District from taking part in a plan to prevent shortages on the drought-plagued Colorado River.

The plaintiff, local farmer Mike Abatti, says a previous ruling by Anderholt that favored Abatti over IID and its equitable distribution plan precludes the district from entering into any new contracts that have to do with water because water rights are tied to the land and are a property right of the agricultural user. That case is currently under appeal by IID.

Staff Writer Richard Montenegro Brown can be reached at 760-337-3452 or rbrown@ivpressonline.com

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(1) comment

Wally Leimgruber

In the years following Arizona v. California, [1964] entities and individuals with section 5 contract rights to use of Colorado River water in California diverted water in excess of the Bolder Canyon Project Act (BCPA) apportionment, generally relying on unused portions of the BCPA apportionments of Nevada and Arizona.

By the 1990s, however, both Arizona and Nevada were approaching full use of their apportionments, the demands of California users for Colorado River water were increasing, and surplus water made available by the Secretary was required to satisfy their demands.

By 1996, the Secretary concluded that California's increasing use of Colorado River water for agricultural purposes was exceeding the beneficial consumptive use limits of the BCPA and was placing the apportionments of other Colorado River Basin states at risk.

To reduce California's dependency on surplus Colorado River water for its consumptive water needs and to protect other Colorado River Basin states from future shortages, the Secretary determined that California users would be required to reduce their use of Colorado River water to California's BCPA apportionment of 4.4 MAFY.

The Secretary specifically identified Imperial Irrigation District (IID) as a major user of Colorado River water which needed to reduce its diversions for agricultural purposes through various conservation efforts and transfers of conserved water to urban users similar to the IID's 1988 transfer agreement with MWD and pending transfer agreement with San Diego County Water Authority.

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