On September 23, 2008 the IID Board of Directors adopted a strategic plan tasking the Water Department to develop an Integrated Water Resources Management Plan (IWRMP, IID Plan) to assist in meeting future water resource demands. Upon receipt of the draft IWRMP (draft IID Plan), the board directed staff to further develop the concepts and projects identified in this document and initiate a series of public workshops and outreach to solicit stakeholder input.
The IID board authorized the development of the Imperial Integrated Regional Water Management Plan (Imperial IRWMP) to further these efforts, and to assist regional water planning efforts through a process that conforms to California Department of Water Resources guidelines.
The Interim Water Supply Policy for Non-Agricultural Projects (IWSP) was adopted by the IID Board of Directors on September 29, 2009 to ensure sufficient water was available for new development, in particular much anticipated renewable energy projects. This policy designates up to 25,000 acre-feet of IID’s annual water entitlement be made available for new non-agricultural projects until such time that projects identified in the IRWMP, or other water conservation or supply augmentation projects, are implemented to address new water demands.
In addition to water conservation, reuse and supply augmentation projects, the Imperial IRWMP identified policy-oriented options that could be developed to address forecasted new demands. A coordinated land use/water supply policy was conceptualized that would assign water supplies to categories of use consistent with land use or zoning designations, and as land uses changed over time the volume of water assigned to each use would similarly be transferred to its new category of use. As new lower water demand development projects were sited on agricultural lands, this would then offset higher water use developments without impacting existing agricultural water users that would maintain their stable water supply and longer-term certainty.
The development of this coordinated policy was complicated by the permitting process utilized by local land use authorities. Imperial County planning officials determined that renewable energy facilities were consistent with its agricultural zoning designation, and began issuing conditional use permits for these projects with ten to twenty year terms. These longer-term, but temporary, land use designations were not conducive to a coordinated land use/water supply policy as temporary water supply assignments during a CUP term were not sufficient to meet the water supply verification requirements necessary for new project approvals. Agricultural land owners also sought long-term assurances from IID that, at project termination, irrigation service would be available for them to resume their farming operations.
Based on these conditions, IID determined it had to develop a water supply policy that tiered off of the local land use decision-making, and adapt to the conditions in place, in order to facilitate new development and economic diversity in Imperial County. IID concluded that certain lower water use projects could still provide benefits to local water users; however the benefits may not be to the same categories of use but to the district as a whole. Under the terms of the legislation adopted to facilitate the QSA and enacted in California Water Code 1013, the IID Temporary Land Conversion Fallowing Policy (TLCFP) was adopted by the IID Board of Directors on May 8, 2012 and revised on March 29, 2016. This policy developed a framework for a temporary, long-term fallowing program to work in concert with the IWSP, and in line with the coordinated land use/water supply strategy. While the conserved water generated from the TLCFP is limited by law for use towards transfer or environmental purposes, by satisfying multiple district objectives the TLCFP also serves to reduce the conservation and water use demands on other IID water users and thus provides district-wide benefits.
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|Temporary Land Conversion Fallowing Policy Conservation Summary [PDF]
|Temporary Land Conversion Fallowing Policy [PDF] Adopted 5/8/2012 (Revised 3/29/2016)