Imperial County will be at a dead standstill, unable to attract industry or developers because its water allotment will remain the same with or without the sale, with no additions unless the conserved "wasted" water is saved and beneficially used in Imperial County.
One should therefore question the IID Board of Directors as to whether these perfected rights extend to supplying freshwater to geothermal plants or new industrial developments. And now that new developments are required to demonstrate a water supply under a new law, do these rights apply to shopping malls or housing developments?
One should also question the IID board whether there is any point in building a beef-processing plant when to raise cattle, one needs water for them to drink and crops to feed the cattle and water to grow the feed?
One should also ask the IID board what is the effect of the proposed sale on the reserve of 123,360 acres of public lands lying below minus 220 feet, created by the U.S. president in 1924 and 1928 to receive and store agricultural, surface and subsurface drainage waters?
SDCWA offers $50 million a year to Imperial County's benefit, they state. But most of that money will be used by IID to implement conservation measures necessary to generate the "surplus" water it will conserve by ending its historic waste of water. Where is the profit if the water allotment is reduced and the sold water leaves and Imperial County farming and growth is stunted?
The proposed water transfers to San Diego would cut off the present farm drainwater flowing into the sea, leaving a shrunken sea with up to a half mile of exposed shoreline all around the Salton Sea. The result would be worse than the killing of Mono and Owens lakes by the Metropolitan Water District. Imperial County would really suffer.
Gone would be income generated from dove and duck hunting, fishing, boating and recreational uses of the sea. Motels, restaurants, grocery stores, gasoline stations, boat rentals, etc. would all see declines in sales and so would the county-imposed taxes.
MWD didn't pay for all the costs of remediation at Mono and Owens lakes. Taxpayers did and are still. San Diego doesn't intend to pay for all the costs of "mitigation" expenses and has had legislators pass or propose bills that provide serious amounts of your tax money (Hundreds of millions of dollars of California taxpayer moneys are funded and waiting for the concrete lining of canals). Right now they want another $60 million of your money to "mitigate" damages to wildlife only, not residents or businesses or Imperial County tax income.
Before San Diego (and Los Angeles) take Imperial County water they should be required to have many water-conservation programs. They only want Imperial County water so they can grow more golf courses and gated communities with more swimming pools and invite more industries to their areas.
While they profess to be concerned about the effects on the Salton Sea, there would be fewer effects if there were no transfer of water to San Diego. The Salton Sea is a healthy bio-diverse multi-species environment that has never been closed to swimming, fishing or boating. The Salton Sea doesn't need the kind of destructive "help" it would receive if the water sale agreement is finally approved. Nothing in the sale agreement helps the Salton Sea or Imperial County, even with the proposed fallowing.
No sale would not only save the sea it would mean less taxpayer money would be spent to cure what wouldn't have happened if no sale had been made. In other words, it's cheaper for taxpayers across the state and nation to say no to San Diego, the sooner the better.
>> SIMONE is a director of the Salton Community Services District and a semi-retired attorney living in Desert Shores.