SACRAMENTO, Calif. – During a regular meeting of the State Water Resources Control Board today, Imperial Irrigation District General Manager Kevin Kelley and Imperial County Executive Officer Ralph Cordova pressed the water board for additional action at the Salton Sea.
“Reaching a consensus plan for restoration of the Salton Sea can no longer be an open-ended process,” said Kelley. “That’s why we are calling on the state water board to inject a sense of urgency into the process and keep it from bogging down even further. What we need is a referee and a timekeeper.”
Last November, IID filed a petition with the state water board that suggested a specific process and timetable for the parties in the 2003 Quantification Settlement Agreement – the landmark water-sharing pact that has enabled California to live within its annual entitlement of 4.4 million acre-feet from the Colorado River – to reach consensus on the most realistic and sustainable Salton Sea restoration plan.
Under the State Water Resources Control Board’s revised order (WRO 2002-0013), IID has been fallowing land to generate mitigation water for the Salton Sea. In 2017, that mitigation water, which was intended to provide the state sufficient time to select, adopt and fund Salton Sea restoration, will end—causing a dramatic decline in the sea’s health and jeopardizing the surrounding communities.
Added Imperial County Executive Officer Ralph Cordova, “We call upon the board to take action now and help avoid the adverse air quality and public health impacts that will result from an exposed lakebed.”
IID has asked the state water board to consider making the state’s obligation to restore the Salton Sea a condition of the water transfers under the QSA.