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Public hearings on draft EIR to begin Tuesday

April 01, 2002|By RUDY YNIGUEZ, Staff Writer

LA QUINTA — The Imperial Irrigation District Board of Directors will meet here in order to attend the first of three days of formal public hearings on the draft environmental study for the pending transfer of water to San Diego.

Comments about the draft environmental impact report will be taken. The public hearing begins at 5 p.m. Tuesday in IID's boardroom at 81-600 Ave. 58. The hearing will be conducted by the contractor that produced the draft study.

The IID board meets in regular open session at 1 p.m.

The second hearing will be at 5 p.m. Wednesday in the William R. Condit Auditorium, 1285 Broadway, El Centro, and the third will be Thursday at 5 p.m. at the San Diego County Water Authority, 4677 Overland Ave., San Diego.

The four transfer alternatives listed in the draft EIR are:

· no project, that is, no transfer.

· a transfer of no more than 130,000 acre-feet, using on-farm conservation only. The quantification settlement agreement would not be completed or implemented. Environmental effects on the Salton Sea would be mitigated through fallowing. The definition of fallowing is "the nonuse of farmland for crop production in order to conserve irrigation water, on a short-term or long-term basis," the draft says.

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· a transfer of up to 230,000 acre-feet. Of that, 130,000 would go to San Diego. The other 100,000 would go to the Coachella Valley Water District and/or Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Under this scenario, the water would be saved on-farm, through system savings or fallowing. Effects to the Salton Sea would be mitigated as in the previous alternative.

· a transfer of up to 300,000 acre-feet only through fallowing. The draft recognizes that to use fallowing as a conservation method, the IID/San Diego agreement must be changed. The agreement states a minimum of 130,000 acre-feet of conserved water must be from on-farm conservation, and "the IID covenants and agrees that fallowing will not be a permitted water conservation effort under its contracts with its contracting landowners."

Comments on the draft EIR may be submitted in writing until April 26.

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

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