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Equitable Distribution Plan Litigation

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Updated February 2020

IID's board approved a resolution repealing the EDP on February 6, 2018. IID water users will not be limited by an apportionment of water; however, in the absence of the EDP, all water users will continue to be subject to the requirement of reasonable and beneficial use standards. In addition, the district will continue to be subject to the 3.1 million acre-foot annual consumptive use cap set forth under the Quantification Settlement Agreement and the rules of the federal Inadvertent Overrun and Payback Policy.

Background
Facing the threat posed by the longest drought in a century for the Colorado River basin, IID adopted the Equitable Distribution Plan to manage its Colorado River water supply—its sole source of water for the entire Imperial Valley—in accordance with IID’s duty under Water Code section 22252 to distribute water “equitably as determined by the board.” (Wat. Code, § 22252).

The IID Board of Directors undertook extensive study and analysis beginning in 2004, eventually adopting an EDP in 2007, which was revised several times, most recently in October 2013. The revised EDP included a hybrid method of apportionment that had a historical use component and a straight-line component.  The lawsuit by Michael Abatti challenging the Equitable Distribution Plan adopted in October 2013 (Michael Abatti, et al. v. Imperial Irrigation District case No. ECU07980) was filed on November 27, 2013.

On August 15, 2017, Judge Brooks Anderholt issued a statement of decision in the case. A writ of mandate and a declaratory judgment were issued on August 25 and September 19, 2017, respectively. The writ of mandate, attached, directs IID to repeal the EDP. IID filed a notice of appeal on September 26, 2017.

Mr. Abatti filed a notice of cross-appeal on October 16, 2017. Mr. Abatti sought an order from the appellate court to mandate the trial court to enforce its writ of mandate and declaratory judgment while the appeal on the merits is pending. In contrast, IID sought appellate court confirmation that a stay is in place pending the appeal on the merits of the case to maintain the status quo of implementation of the EDP with the hybrid method of apportionment, which has been in place since its adoption in 2013. On January 31, 2018, the appellate court issued two orders, denying both Abatti's and IID's writs. The net effect of the appellate court orders is that there is no stay and the court is not directed to pursue any enforcement of its writ of mandate and judgment.

In the absence of an EDP, all IID water users continue to be subject to the requirement of reasonable and beneficial use of water under the California Constitution, Article X, section 2. IID continues to be subject to the 3.1 million acre-foot annual consumptive use cap under the Quantification Settlement Agreement and the rules of the federal Inadvertent Overrun and Payback Policy, which set forth the limitations under which IID may exceed its annual consumptive use cap, including payback requirements, and the circumstances under which IID cannot exceed its annual consumptive use cap.

 Background Documents
February 7, 2020 Court Order re Abatti OSC re Contempt [PDF]

Statement by IID Board President Norma Sierra Galindo, Feb. 4, 2020 [PDF]

IID News Release 2/4/2020 - Anderholt takes Abatti contempt lawsuit against IID under submission
IID News Release 1/23/2020 - IID responds to Abatti contempt motion over industrial water
January 22, 2020 IID Opposition to Motion to Enforce Judgment Through OSC [PDF]
January 22, 2020 Declaration of Tina Shields ISO IID Opposition to Motion for Contempt [PDF]
January 22, 2020 Declaration of Scott Kessler ISO IID Opposition to Motion for Contempt [PDF]
Combined Appellant's Reply and Cross-respondent's Brief Filed February 15, 2019 in Abatti v. IID [PDF]
November 26, 2018 Surreply to Reply re Motion to Enforce Judgment and Enjoin IID [PDF]
November 20, 2018 Abatti's Reply in Support of Motion to Enforce Judgment and Enjoin IID [PDF]
November 15, 2018 IID's Opposition to Ex Parte Application and T. Shields Declaration [PDF]
November 13, 2018 Abatti's Ex Parte Application to Enforce Judgment, Decls. Craig Morgan & Cheryl Orr [PDF]
EDP Lawsuit Factsheet July 2018 [PDF]
June 29, 2018 IID Opening Brief [PDF]
May 8, 2018 Board Memo [PDF]
May 2, 2018 Appeal [PDF]
February 6, 2018 Board Memo and Resolution Repealing EDP [PDF]
August 22, 2018 Appellate Court Order [PDF]
August 15, 2017 Statement of Decision [PDF]

 

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