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Statement by Erik Ortega, President, Imperial Irrigation District Board of Directors, on passage of DCP legislation
“Whether the passage of this Drought Contingency Plan will improve the sustainability of the Colorado River is an open question. What we know for sure is that it is a dramatic setback for the sustainability of the Salton Sea, which makes it, in my view, the first casualty of this DCP.
“After years of complex negotiations in which IID was always clear that its participation would depend on a 10-year roadmap for the sea, and a plan to fully fund it, the district was ultimately forced to choose between the river, its sole source of water, and the Salton Sea.
“When IID tried to choose both, the Colorado River moved on without it.
“As a result, this DCP is missing 21 percent of the Colorado River’s delivered water and instead of squarely addressing the greatest environmental challenge facing the entire river system – by name – tries to pretend that the Salton Sea doesn’t exist.
“Fortunately, Congress was unwilling to eliminate federal environmental protections for the Salton Sea based on pat predictions or more empty promises.
“For the record, what IID wanted from the DCP was a partnership that respected and helped advance the goal of a smaller but sustainable Salton Sea. But it turned out that our partners at the Bureau of Reclamation and in the seven basin states were only for the smaller part.”