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Voice: Landowners in IID don't own water

April 07, 2001

At a Water Conservation Advisory Board meeting, the Western Farms/Responsibility group defined "crop rotation" as "not farming a crop for a period that is less than a year." It follows that "fallowing" be defined as "not growing a crop for a period of a year or more."

The landowners within the Imperial Irrigation District do not have water rights. IID holds the water rights in trust for the benefit of the landowners. This "benefit" is deemed to mean the right of the landowner to order and receive water from IID as long as the water is put to reasonable and beneficial use.

Conversely, this right to receive water from IID does not include nor convey the right of the landowner to claim ownership and benefit from water it does not order nor receive.

The landowners in the Blythe area who fallowed land and transferred water to the Metropolitan Water District owned the water rights. Therefore, the landowners within the IID have no basis for claiming ownership of no benefit from water they have not ordered, whether it is called "fallowing," "crop rotation" or "retiring land for economic reasons."

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CLIFF HURLEY

El Centro

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