EL CENTRO – At their regular meeting of Tuesday, December 3, the Imperial Irrigation District Board of Directors approved an agreement with Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) to fund a portion of the Minute 319 conserved water.
At a cost of $2.5 million, the IID will receive 23,750 acre-feet of water.
If used for payback purposes, this would save the IID from $500,000 to $1 million from fallowing costs and a reduction of fallowing acreage, as well as benefiting companies that service the fallowed farmlands. Approximately 4, 272 acres of farmland would not have to be fallowed in 2014 under this agreement.
“For most of 2013, we have been endeavoring with MWD to come to some resolution on Minute 319 and especially the Mexican apportionment water that it made to U.S. water contractors,” said Kevin Kelley, IID General Manager. “The amount of Mexican apportionment water behind the dam at Lake Mead is a little less than 300,000 acre-feet. Of that amount through Minute 319, 100,000 acre-feet has been made available to Southern Nevada, Central Arizona, and 50,000 acre feet to MWD. As late as last night, we were making revisions to a draft agreement that has been presented to the Board in closed session and now is available to the public. N it, MWD agrees through its Sub Account to make available to the IID 50% of the 50,000 acre-feet of water that could be used for not only for municipal and industrial use, but for payback to the river.”
Kelley asked the Board to make some sort of decision so he could make a joint announcement at the annual Colorado River Water Users Association meeting next week with MWD and the Department of Interior.
The Board voted 3 to 2 in favor of the agreement. Directors Bruce Kuhn and Jim Hanks voted no on the agreement.
MWD has committed to making this water available to the IID if is it not possible to get it directly from the river.
Kelley said that it is believed that MWD would give up this water in an effort to unite Southern California water districts in the event that there were a water shortage in Lake Mead.
This agreement may also help IID have a broader participation in the Minute 319 in 2014.
“Through the QSA, IID is in the process of transferring 500,000 acre-feet of water to urban areas,” said Director Hanks. “If that doesn’t get us a seat at the Minute 319 table, I don’t know if we’ll ever get one.”