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CAC members address reports' problems

April 11, 2002|By RUDY YNIGUEZ

Staff Writer

Not only are there problems with the pending transfer of water out of the Imperial Valley, but there are problems with a report written about the problems.

"We need to draw a line in the sand and say this transfer is not good for the Imperial Valley," said Ike Adams, a longtime member of the community advisory commission.

Adams' eight-page report, considered in the minority, is one of three reports in response to a report expected to be adopted by the CAC. The CAC was tasked with developing the report three and a half years ago by the Imperial Irrigation District Board of Directors.


Other reports were written by Don Cox, former IID director, retired farmer and CAC member, and Heidi Kuhn, farmer and CAC member.

Adams said his preference, unlike that in the majority report, is that there be no transfer.

"There are too many unanswered questions, and the (draft environmental impact report/environmental impact statement) was very deficient in some areas," he said.

Adams said his report discusses the positives and negatives of the transfer, but that the negatives far outweigh the positives. His report concentrates on the potential effects of on-farm conservation and fallowing.

Regarding on-farm measures, Adams said farmers would face too much cost, not enough revenue and too much debt to make it worthwhile.

Fallowing, he said, would devastate the local economy in general. He also said there are some serious environmental justice questions related to the transfer, especially because if any jobs are lost, they would be jobs held by lower-income workers. In addition there would possibly be decreases in property values and property taxes collected.

Adams said though he is opposed to the transfer, there is still room for the efficient use of water.

"I think we need to tighten our belts and do the best we can," he said.

He said if it becomes a court battle, the Valley can make its case.

Kuhn said her report might not be submitted because she did not realize the CAC would critique the report as a group, with changes adopted by majority vote. She said once the majority report is finalized — likely tonight — she will then decide whether to submit or pull her comments.

Kuhn said she strongly prefers the transfer alternative adopted by the Imperial County Farm Bureau.

"This proposal has the support of the users of the vast majority of water in this county," she wrote.

Central to the Farm Bureau conservation plan is temporary fallowing while avoiding debt, the allocation of water to the farm headgate, long-term contracts and incentives to farm less.

Meanwhile, Cox said his report will not submitted to the IID board. He said the report was written to help the CAC realize certain decisions cannot be made at the commission level.

"All I wanted to do was stir them up and let them know we don't have enough information to make a decision," he said.

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

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