The following is my response to Mike Abatti’s recent op-ed in this newspaper regarding the contempt-of-court brought against Imperial Irrigation District. My intentions are not to refute all of his statements but to provide the public with an honest record of the facts.

Firstly, Mr. Abatti initiated the lawsuit against IID’s Equitable Distribution Program, which is a system of water apportionment approved by the IID Board in 2013 following overruns of the District’s annual Colorado River water entitlement of 3.1 million acre-feet in 2011 and 2012. More importantly, this lawsuit not only challenges the IID board’s fiduciary authority to allocate water fairly and equitably to all water users for various categories of water use, but it emphasizes that Mr. Abatti, and other agricultural landowners who use 97 percent of the water in Imperial Valley, actually own the water rights that IID, as a public fiduciary agency, holds in trust for the benefit of all those whom it serves.

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