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IID applauds Salton Sea action by Water Board
During its meeting today, the State Water Resources Control Board adopted revised Order WRO 2002-0013, which sets annual commitments and a framework for Salton Sea restoration and mitigation efforts. Officials from Imperial Irrigation District and Imperial County attended the meeting and expressed their support for this long-awaited vote.
“In 2014, twelve years into the nation’s largest ag-to-urban water transfer, IID found itself at a crossroad. Should it continue the QSA transfer of water out of the Imperial Valley knowing that nothing was being done to protect the region from the public health and environmental threats posed by a dying Salton Sea?” said general manager Kevin Kelley. “Faced with that hard question, the IID board had the courage to demand action from its partner, the state of California.”
Most importantly, the revised order provides the Water Board with continued jurisdiction over the implementation of restoration efforts at the Salton Sea, led by the California Natural Resources Agency, and requires the agency to annually report to the Water Board on progress made towards the milestones outlined in the order.
“In the end, the revised order provides accountability and gives assurance to the residents of the Imperial and Coachella Valleys that continued restoration efforts will remain in place for as long as the water transfers continue,” said Kelley.
In short, revised Order WRO 2002-0013 stipulates the following:
- Clearly states that the 15-year mitigation water requirement will conclude at the end of 2017. Other mitigation measures, including the four-step air quality plan, which were incorporated into Water Right Order No. 2002-0013 (revised), will proceed as planned.
- Finds the restoration of the Salton Sea is feasible, that the state of California will lead and coordinate management efforts at the Salton Sea serving as a catalyst whose role in advancing the cause of restoration is essential.
- Requires the state of California, through the California Natural Resources Agency, act so that there will be almost 30,000 acres of exposed playa covered by habitat and dust suppression projects by December 31, 2028.
- Calls on the California Natural Resources Agency to identify a long-term plan for the Salton Sea and develop subsequent 10-year plans to guide projects after the initial 10-year plan is completed.