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Maldonado will seek re-election to the IID board

September 08, 2001|By RUDY YNIGUEZ, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — Imperial Irrigation District Division 5 Director Rudy Maldonado will seek re-election to the IID Board of Directors, he announced Friday.

In announcing his re-election bid, Maldonado laid to rest the rumor that he would run for the state Assembly. He was asked what he would do if called on by state legislators to run for what could be an open Assembly seat if recently proposed districts are formally adopted.

"They already called," he said. " I said, ‘No, thank you.'"

Maldonado, "48 and a half," is in his first term on the IID board, of which he is the immediate past president. He said despite accomplishing some of his goals, there are issues remaining to be solved, including the pending final report on the district's efficiency and his continued opposition to the fallowing of land for purposes of conserving water for the pending transfer of water to the San Diego County Water Authority.

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He said other remaining issues include furthering the checks and balances at the district, of which the efficiency study is a part, an improvement in the district's business standards and an increase in expected services and their quality.

Maldonado, speaking of the efficiency study — an issue he raised several years ago — said the district, despite board action, still has too many vehicles.

"Today we have more vehicles on the street than when this all started," he said, adding the situation is "astounding."

The efficiency study, which was authorized on a split vote — with Maldonado in favor — plays a critical role in the district's future, he said.

Other areas of importance for Maldonado include upgrading the district's power generation facilities, which he described as "in dire need of maintenance."

He said the board has authorized the replacement of Unit 3 generating plant in El Centro, a project expected to take about four years.

On the issue of the water transfer, Maldonado said it still needs to be closely watched, and that despite discussions late last year on the issue of transporting conserved water to San Diego via the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California's Colorado River Aqueduct, it has not been resolved.

The IID/San Diego transfer calls for San Diego to obtain a means of moving the water for 45 years — the initial term of the transfer. San Diego and MWD have a 30-year agreement in place. Failure to obtain a 45-year agreement could cause the IID/San Diego transfer to collapse.

Maldonado said IID extended the transportation requirement one additional year, but that he will oppose further extensions. He said IID has stepped forward to help the south state with its water needs.

"What more do they want from us?" he asked.

The water transfer is seen as a cornerstone in the state's expected reduction in Colorado River use from 5.2 million acre-feet yearly to its legal apportionment of 4.4 million.

"A water transfer will happen," Maldonado said. "With whom and when is yet to be determined."

On the issue of fallowing as a means of saving water for the transfer, Maldonado emphasized that it is prohibited under the transfer agreement.

"It doesn't have to be repeated: I stand firm, there is no fallowing," he said.

The issue of fallowing will be the subject of presentations by the Salton Sea Authority in three weeks.

Maldonado said he is aware of the pending presentations, and wondered why the Salton Sea Authority Board of Directors is allowing those programs to proceed, especially with two IID board members on the SSA board.

"(Fallowing) is a pill, but it remains to be seen if it's a poison pill for the Imperial Valley," Maldonado said, adding he was shocked to hear the presentations would be made. "I thought our position was clear."

Besides Maldonado, Calexico City Councilman Gilbert Grijalva has announced for the Division 5 seat.

The primary election is in March 2002.

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

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