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Voice: The Beta Project may be the answer

July 22, 2001

"Beta" signifies water policies that are Greater Community-oriented.

The Beta Project papers that I have submitted to the IID board and staff, the Water Conservation Advisory Board and others include:

(1) The core Beta Project

(2) Precepts

(3) Being positive and proactive

(4) Resource management

Disciplines were introduced in the first paper. The precepts are based on Imperial Irrigation District's water being under federal jurisdiction and the Law of the River applying. The MOU/key terms/quantification settlement agreement process, which was promoted by Secretary of the Interior Babbitt, is based on amending the California Seven Party Agreement. The positive and proactive approach describes how IID can pursue the water transfer on a voluntary and unilateral basis within the existing SPA (i.e. without amending the third-priority water policies in the SPA).

The resource management paper deals with:

(1) On-farm water conservation

(2) Problem and remedy lands (that cannot meet the regular water-conservation standards without mitigating measures)


(3) Management of IID's entitlement water

The on-farm water conservation approach is based on:

(1) Growing crops

(2) Meeting the regular water conservation standards

(3) These standards being the baseline for identifying wet water (which can be transferred)

IID holds the water rights in trust for the benefit of the landowner. IID, as well as the grower, has the responsibility to see that its water is put to reasonable and beneficial use.

The goal of the problem and remedy approach is to reduce the amount of water being wasted on-farm and improve the on-farm wet water balance. On a limited and selective basis, IID would have a standing offer to purchase problem land at marked value and convert its use to something more passive (c.g. hunting reserve, wildlife refuge).

The saved water that IID could transfer would be the average use of water per farmed acre. This is not landowner and fallowing (not growing a crop) oriented. And because it is based on IID pursuing reasonable and beneficial use pursuant to federal law, it should be the secretary of the Interior/Bureau of Reclamation who should make provisions for this type of transfer.

The revenues from this IID transfer would be used to benefit the Great Community including:

(1) Improving the IID system

(2) Helping make agriculture stronger and more prosperous by pursuing the establishment of ag-related industries

(3) Etc.

The Beta approach is the antithesis of the water-marketing approach, which is "anti-agriculture" (not farming) and "anti-Greater Community" oriented.


El Centro

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