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Action on quantification agreement support delayed

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS:

July 25, 2001|By RUDY YNIGUEZ, Staff Writer

The county Board of Supervisors delayed taking requested action in support of federal legislation designed to assist in the implementation of the so-called Colorado River Quantification Settlement Agreement, restoration of the Salton Sea and the state's Colorado River Water Use Plan — previously called the 4.4 Plan.

The supervisors agreed they could not support legislation that has not been written.

"I think it's premature to vote on something that doesn't exist," said Supervisor Gary Wyatt, adding that the pending water transfer between the Imperial Irrigation District and the San Diego County Water Authority could lead to a worsening of conditions at the Salton Sea.

The majority of the sea lies in Wyatt's district.

"I can't vote for something that could lead to the demise of such a great asset," he said.

Wyatt said he thinks reduced inflows to the sea could exacerbate the sea's problems, especially the high salt content.

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Under the transfer and related agreements IID will eventually move as much as 300,000 acre-feet of conserved water out of the Imperial Valley. The first 200,000 would ramp-up at 20,000 acre-feet yearly once begun.

The sea's salinity has been found to be 25 percent more than the Pacific Ocean.

Supervisors Joe Maruca and Hank Kuiper agreed with Wyatt.

"We don't know what we're supporting yet," Kuiper said.

The request for support came from the IID.

In other business, the board:

· approved a 60-day extension of its contract with SunLine Transit Agency to administer the county's transit system. Thousand Palms-based SunLine, a public agency, has given the county notice of its intent to no longer administer the system. Tim Jones, county public works director, told the board either the county will take on the responsibility or find someone else to do it. Jones also said changes to the transit service recommended by the Imperial Valley Association of Governments will be implemented.

· approved the donation of diving equipment to the Mexicali Fire Department from the Sheriff's Office.

· approved seeking a $349,800 grant from the state Water Resources Control Board to reduce nonpoint source pollution in the form of salt and selenium to the New River, Alamo River and Salton Sea. The project would be carried out by the county and Desert Wildlife Unlimited Inc. A $233,200 in-kind contribution match is required. The match would be shared equally between the two.

The project would involve the construction of wetlands to reduce the salt and selenium.

· approved a name change from Valley of Imperial Development Alliance to Community & Economic Development Department. Granted approval for CEDD to seek requests for proposals to administer CEDD's $500,000 first-time home buyers program.

· authorized CEDD to seek $500,000 in state community development block grant funds to create jobs for certain targeted income groups.

Staff Writer Rudy Yniguez can be reached at 337-3440.

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