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Voice: Where do IID directors stand on allocating water to the farm gate?

April 26, 2001

The schemes of the water-marketing interests in the Imperial Valley include:

(1) The landowners owning the water rights based on allocating the entitlement water to the gate.

(2) "Contending that Imperial Irrigation District's water is under state jurisdiction" coupled with "having defensive transfers wherein as much profit is made from them as from voluntary transfers."

(3) Getting paid for not farming whether it is called crop rotation or fallowing.

The water rights of IID are held in trust by the district for the benefit of the landowners. "Allocating water to the gate" means the water rights are no longer held in trust by IID, i.e. Bill DuBois: Water allocated to the gate belongs to the landowners.

If the landowners, rather than IID, hold the water rights, the rights can be sold as they were in Owens Valley. And the Imperial Valley can become a wasteland. Therefore, of all their schemes, "allocating water to the gate" is the most serious and potentially devastating.

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I have it on good authority that the IID board voted in closed session to allocate water to the gate based on the historical use of water. And that the motion passed on a 3-2 vote wherein Don Cox and Andy Horne voted no. Last year's Imperial County grand jury found no evidence this happened. (They didn't look very hard.)

I have asked the current grand jury to look into it. (Don't hold your breath.) Regardless, there are three IID seats up for election next year, including the seats presently held by:

(1) Rudy Maldonado

(2) Andy Horne

(3) Lloyd Allen

The question that needs to be asked of all the candidates running for these seats is:

Do you oppose, under any circumstances, allocating water to the gate?

CLIFF HURLEY

El Centro

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