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IID steps up enforcement of tailwater rules

April 11, 2002|STAFF REPORT

The Imperial Irrigation District water department is sending letters to all Imperial Valley growers warning that water orders may be refused if tailwater structures fail to meet IID standards once a 45-day warning period is issued.

Tailwater boxes are used to measure drainage water discharge. Properly functioning structures also help to reduce the amount of silt that flows into agricultural drains as is required by state regulations.

IID Water department manager Mike King said, "With the state's total daily maximum load requirements, the district's ability to maintain the agricultural drains would be thrown into jeopardy without strict enforcement of the tailwater box regulations. This action is really intended to protect the way growers farm in the Imperial Valley."

The state Regional Water Quality Control Board last year implemented a TMDL requirement to reduce silt in the drain as a way of cleaning water that flows from farm fields into the New and Alamo rivers and the Salton Sea.

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IID's regulations have long required growers to install tailwater structures to reduce the discharge of tailwater from the low end of agricultural fields. The structures, usually concrete, have three vertical walls bonded together and a solid level-grade board over which tailwater leaves a field. Broken or malfunctioning tailwater boxes allow silt to flow unimpeded into drainage ditches and ultimately into the Salton Sea.

In 2001, the IID Board of Directors amended the tailwater box regulation, No. 39, to require that growers repair or replace tailwater structures within 45 days after being notified that they are out of compliance by IID personnel. The amended regulation states the IID may refuse water service if the tailwater box is still out of compliance 45 days after the notice was issued.

Growers or landowners with questions about the tailwater box regulations may contact IID Water Operations General Superintendent Carlos Villalón at 339-9265.

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