Voice: ‘Government of the People' rules needed for IID water

May 31, 2001

The water rights of the Imperial Irrigation District are held in trust by the district for the benefit of the landowners.

Water allocated to the gate effectively breaks that trust. Bill Dubois: "Water allocated to the gate belongs to the landowners. And the landowners can do whatever they want with their water."

IID's water "plan" includes:

(1) The historical use of water by gate constitutes the baseline for determining wet water. (2) The historical-use period and the throwing out of the high- and low-use years have been established as the basis for determining historical use.

What this plan lacks includes:

(1) How the water shall be conserved pursuant to Section 1011 of the California Water Code, i.e. (a) Doing something using less water. (b) Crop rotation/fallowing. (2) How IID's entitlement water shall be managed. On-farm, "doing something using less water" translates to "growing a crop using less water." This has been called "true conservation."


"Crop rotation" has been defined by the "Responsibility" group as — not growing a crop for a period of less than a year. It follows that the definition for "fallowing" is — not growing a crop for a period of a year or more.

If the plan is to include fallowing, the San Diego County Water Authority agreement, which states "there shall be no fallowing," needs to be changed. (There is already the discrepancy in this agreement between the "period of the transfer" and the "wheeling of water period with the Metropolitan Water District.")

The core tenets of Government for the People include:

— Government shall be "policy" and the "establishing, effecting, and realizing of policy" oriented.

— The policies of government shall be in the public interest and for the common good.

The greater government policy areas include:

— Land use and the environment (county)

— Water

— Power

— Economic development (county)

IID's water transfer and water conservation and management plans and policies constitute a significant public policy area.

The "rules of policymaking" are an issue of Government by the People and include:

(1) Recognize "organizing and planning projects" as the projects they are. (2) Have a project director and lead planner for each of these projects. (3) Have the project information introduced to the full board at a regular board meeting as an information item. (4) Have a public hearing and written comment period. (5) Bring it back to the board as a board hearing/action item.

As a "precocious" project director/lead planner, I will be submitting planning phase project information in this area to you as an information item at your next board meeting June 12 (in La Quinta). I will be requesting that it be on the June 14 Water Conservation Advisory Board agenda.

The "public hearing" of this plan shall be through a series of articles submitted to the Imperial Valley Press. Comments will be solicited and public comments and my responses will become part of the board hearing/action information (which I will bring back to you).

This constitutes a Government of the People policymaking process. It's easy to criticize IID. It will be a challenge to achieve an effective Government of the People policymaking process.

In the end, it will be the awareness and understanding, expectancy, will and determination, and actions of the people that will make Imperial Valley a greater and greater community.


El Centro

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