SAN DIEGO — San Diego County Water Authority officials remained optimistic about the pending water transfer from the Imperial Irrigation District despite receiving notice that environmental costs may exceed the cap IID is willing to pay.
The IID Board of Directors sent a letter to SDCWA informing officials there that the cost of mitigating the transfer's effect on the Salton Sea and other environments may reach beyond the $15 million maximum limit IID is contractually obligated to cover.
"I think the IID wanted to clarify in writing a kind of reminder that their obligation is $15 million," said SDCWA General Manager Maureen Stapleton.
When asked who will cover the remaining costs to mitigate the transfer's effects, Stapleton said it's too early to say.
"That's probably premature until we find out how big a pill this is," Stapleton said.
The total environmental mitigation cost is not known yet though there is indication it could reach hundreds of millions of dollars. It is required by law that the environmental effects be mitigated for the transfer to occur.