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IID revises water order to support Colorado River, resolve Salton Sea pre-delivery issue
In step with focusing its efforts on future Colorado River negotiations, the IID Board of Directors, Monday, ratified revising its 2019 water order to resolve a longstanding issue between the district and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation over the 2010 pre-delivery of water to the Salton Sea.
In step with focusing its efforts on future Colorado River negotiations, the Imperial Irrigation District Board of Directors, Monday, ratified revising its 2019 water order to resolve a longstanding issue between the district and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation over the 2010 pre-delivery of water to the Salton Sea.
“Resolving this issue helps provide a strong base from which both Reclamation and IID can move forward as we work with other Colorado River basin stakeholders to develop the next set of operational guidelines,” said Erik Ortega, IID board president. “This demonstrates IID’s commitment to finding common ground in support of the river as the 2007 Colorado River Interim Guidelines are set to expire at the end of 2025.”
IID’s revised 2019 water order was submitted last week and now includes an additional 46,546 acre-feet of conserved water. This water will remain in the river to build elevation at Lake Mead and benefit all Colorado River water users.
General Manager Henry Martinez and designated staff have been in discussions with Reclamation to address the issue and the board recently authorized them to develop the mechanism that resolves it.
The revised water order is subject to Reclamation approval after the final true-up of IID’s 2019 water conservation program yields and final water accounting calculations. IID will then be reimbursed approximately $6.3 million from the Quantification Settlement Agreement Joint Powers Authority from the remaining funds budgeted for Salton Sea mitigation deliveries.
Pre-delivery in 2010
At a time when the QSA had been invalidated and there was great uncertainty, in 2010, the district pre-delivered 46,546 acre-feet of its consumptive use entitlement to the Salton Sea. The district did this to satisfy mitigation obligations for 2011 and part of 2012, meet existing permit requirements and avoid associated financial risk.
Asserting then, and today, that the consumptive use of Colorado River water for environmental mitigation purposes was appropriate and prudent, the district recognizes that others may have a differing view and will “agree to disagree,” Board President Ortega said. With this action, he added, the IID Board is demonstrating its commitment to the river and its leadership role in the Lower Basin.
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