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IID fears San Diego moving quickly on aqueduct plans

February 05, 2001|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

Concern is growing among some Imperial Irrigation District directors that the San Diego County Water Authority is moving faster than expected on the idea of building an aqueduct to move Imperial Valley water to the coast.

IID Director Stella Mendoza, a vocal opponent of a water transfer with San Diego, said she read a recent article in the San Diego Union-Tribune that stated SDCWA is working with Mexico on the idea of a bilateral aqueduct that would carry water to the coast.

On Tuesday Mendoza will ask her fellow directors to adopt a resolution that would oppose any such aqueduct. The meeting will start at 5 p.m. in the board chambers, 1285 Broadway in El Centro.

"The San Diego County Water Authority has made it very clear that their intention is to build an aqueduct to carry more of Imperial Valley's water to the coast," Mendoza said. "I strongly oppose that."

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She added, "I strongly oppose selling water to San Diego."

The adoption of such a resolution has been an ongoing topic for the IID directors, the majority of whom have said they oppose such an aqueduct.

Most recently the board opted to hold off passage of such a resolution after some directors said it might be best to delay the resolution for six months.

The concern was IID is looking to obtain funding from the state for the building of reservoirs to capture water from the Colorado in years where there is surplus water available.

Some directors stated if IID were to pass a resolution against the aqueduct and engage in a fight with San Diego it might jeopardize the state funding for the reservoirs.

Still, IID directors said if they discovered San Diego were making strides toward building the aqueduct, they would revisit the resolution immediately.

Board President Andy Horne said based on the new information about San Diego working with Mexico he is ready to adopt the resolution.

He added he thinks the resolution will be adopted. However, he said it is difficult to say whether it would be a unanimous vote.

Director Rudy Maldonado has said in discussing a resolution that would oppose an aqueduct to San Diego, the board and people in the Imperial Valley need to consider the future.

He said a resolution may not be in the best interest of the Valley. He added he would like to meet with those strongly opposed to the aqueduct so he could better understand their concerns.

Board members against San Diego building an aqueduct have said they are against another "straw" being placed in the Colorado River.

They have said if San Diego were to build an aqueduct, it likely would be for taking more water from the Valley than the 200,000 acre-feet per year already agreed upon between IID and SDCWA. One acre-foot equates to 326,000 gallon.

IID attorney John Carter said a resolution against an aqueduct would have little other purpose than to allow IID directors to send a message to San Diego and the rest of the state.

Mendoza said, "It's time to take a strong stand against San Diego's never-ending thirst for Imperial Valley's water."

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

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