Should the people of Imperial Valley have a say over our water leaving our Valley?

Public votes over the most important questions on water are not new, they are historic and precedented.

On July 14, 1911, the formation of the Imperial Irrigation District was authorized by a public vote of 1,304 to 360.

On January 21, 1919, an election was held to ratify the contract between the United States and the Imperial Irrigation District to develop the All-American Canal. The vote passed 2,535 to 922.

These actions, overwhelmingly authorized by the people, were done to bring water to the Imperial Valley where its use created value then and now.

In the last few decades, important questions have retreated from the people and into the confines of a boardroom.

In the Bass Brothers crisis, the question was, “Who can sell water out of Imperial Valley?”

In the critical 1996 IID election, the question was, “How much of Imperial Valley’s water should be sold and how quickly?”

In the past decade, the dominant question has been, “Who owns the water?” which itself is code for who gets the money once water is sold and moved out of our Valley.

Never before have we asked these two questions:

First, should we be moving water out of the Imperial Valley in the first place?

Second, shouldn’t the people have a say over this resource, which is the past, present, and future of this Valley?

That’s why as a Director on the IID Board, I will offer a resolution to return the power to the people to decide the most critically important question about this resource and our future.

It reads as follows:

“A 2/3 affirmative vote of the public shall be required in a general election to authorize the Imperial Irrigation District to seek, propose, enter into, or otherwise facilitate a voluntary new or enlarged transfer, sale, lease, compensated forbearance, or other generation of additional conserved Colorado River water to be made available for use outside of the Imperial Irrigation District water service area.”

The people deserve a say over any water moving out of this Valley.

This should be the foundation of any negotiations on the Colorado River.

The IID Board is elected by the people. Something as important as water moving out of this Valley must also be put to the people.

The people of this Valley have been denied a say over their own future since 1919 - one hundred years ago this year. They deserve a vote whether their water should be used here or elsewhere.

Protecting our Valley's water for generations to come is what I am fighting for, and that's what I am running to protect.

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