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IID Board issues letter in support of New River emergency
The Imperial Irrigation District Board of Directors unanimously approved issuing a letter of support for the County of Imperial’s recent proclamation of a local emergency at the New River.
The board took the action during its November 18 meeting to bring to the attention of Governor Gavin Newsom that the conditions at the New River “pose extreme danger to the health and safety of nearby communities and require immediate action before more residents, visitors and public sector workers become exposed to toxic substances and pathogens.”
In IID’s letter to Newsom, IID Board President Erik Ortega supports the efforts of the County of Imperial, which on November 5, declared a local emergency; the county’s action has been communicated to the California Office of Emergency Services.
Considered to be one of the nation’s most polluted rivers, the conditions of the New River have plagued the Imperial Valley for decades, Ortega wrote. Further, despite bi-national efforts, the New River requires more attention and resources. Raw sewage bypasses and toxic substances originating from Mexicali, Mexico, run north through the Imperial Valley, exposing these communities to harmful pathogens.
“The communities in the Imperial Valley should no longer have to be subjected to the vulnerability of failing sewer infrastructure,” Ortega wrote. “Furthermore, these waters flow into the Salton Sea, which itself is in a state of peril.”
The conditions at the New River are beyond the control of the services, personnel, equipment and facilities of the County of Imperial, he added, thus requiring immediate attention and additional resources from the State of California.
For these reasons, IID stands in support of the County’s proclamation of a local emergency at the New River and urges the governor to proclaim a State of Emergency exists.