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IID moves closer to resolution against San Diego aqueduct

January 10, 2001|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

The Imperial Irrigation District board Tuesday moved closer to approving a resolution against San Diego building an aqueduct to ship water from this area to the coast.

IID staffers presented the board with a resolution that states the district is opposed to the building of any conveyance facility "that could be used to transport any Colorado River water apportioned to California from the Colorado River to urban Southern California."

The resolution states IID is not opposed to Mexico building such a conveyance system to move water from the Colorado River within Mexico.

The resolution was presented to the board as an information-only item. The item will be presented to the board for final approval during its next meeting later this month.

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Board President Andy Horne told his fellow directors a stand against an aqueduct to San Diego is critical, particularly in light of a conversation he had recently with a San Diego County Water Authority board member.

He said that board member told him SDCWA will be looking for another 200,000 acre-feet of water per year in the future on top of the 200,000 acre-feet San Diego already is set to receive annually from IID as part of a 1998 water agreement.

SDCWA officials were unavailable for comment this morning on Horne's statements.

IID directors said they cannot allow another "straw" to take water from the Imperial Valley.

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California operates an aqueduct from the Colorado River to the coast. It is through that aqueduct that the SDCWA will receive its Imperial Valley water.

Still, since the start of water transfer talks between IID and San Diego, the SDCWA has expressed interest in building such an aqueduct.

Director Lloyd Allen told those at the board meeting that when water talks with San Diego started in 1995, SDCWA talked about an aqueduct.

"I was against it then and I have not changed my mind on this issue," Allen said.

Director Stella Mendoza said the board should have approved such a resolution long ago.

During Tuesday's meeting, El Centro Chamber of Commerce & Visitor's Bureau officials told the board it needs to adopt such a resolution to protect the interests and water rights of the Valley.

Members of Imperial Valley United, a group formed to protect local water rights, told the board such a resolution was a key step to protect the Valley.

Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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