EL CENTRO — The Imperial Irrigation District has voted to purchase 524.5 acres of agricultural land east of the Highline Canal at the their monthly board meeting on Tuesday to create a large reservoir that will serve the water needs of the Imperial Valley .
The location has been approved as an ideal location for an inflow/outflow intended to provide operational flexibly and increased demand for long hours of water delivery. Currently the district delivers 12-hour runs and farmers are asking for 8-hour runs.
Issues have been found in the current Valley water supply according to Mike Sanchez, as far as trying to handle the mitigation water in the fields and other issues water users will be facing in the immediate future.
The cost of the land will be $15,000 per acre, totaling $8,129,750.
The initial cost of the construction for the reservoir is being projected at $250,000 to $300,000 for a 20 acre foot reservoir and $500,000 for a 40 acre foot one.
Approximately 450 acres is currently being leased to two individuals for farming, one whose lease will end in August 2017 and the other at the end of the 2017 spring carrot season.
Residents expressed concerns over the reservoir, pointing out that there are already other reservoirs that could be used instead of building a new one such as Brock Reservoir near Gordon’s Well and Senators Wash near Winterhaven. The board did state that Senators Wash is damaged, and has been projected to cost $100 million to repair. However the IID board stated they do not have Brock Reservoir off the table as a possible reservoir.
Currently Valley farmers are using 12 hour runs in the fields to help conserve water. A large reservoir would help conserve at least 20 acres of water.
“We are at the breaking point in how many 12 hours runs we can use since they’ve skyrocketed within the past year. We desperately need to have a balance,” said Matthew Desert.
The IID states that this is only a motion to purchase the land. The decision to proceed with the construction will not take place until after the IID has completed an environmental survey of the site.
In other business the IID honored 10 employees for years of service at the district, total service adding up to 248 years all together.