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Voice: Water transfer alternative follow-up No. 3

May 04, 2002

In this final issue I will be talking about who is NOT looking at this proposal and why.

In my opinion the worst offender is Tom Kirk and the Salton Sea Authority. In the past year it has become apparent they have their own separate agenda that has nothing to do with the water transfer. How selfish are they? They do not want one less drop of water to flow into the sea 10 years from now than what is flowing today. They want someone to spend up to $2-3 BILLION dollars to clean up the salt and other problems the sea may or may not have. To my knowledge through my reading about the SSA, or listening to Kirk's community programs, they have offered nothing positive toward any potential water transfer.

San Diego County Water Authority is almost as bad, except they want a water transfer. SDCWA wants a transfer structured so they have a reason to build a pipeline to San Diego. If they get their way, it will be built to carry a minimum of 500,000 acre-feet of water. And guess what? After they get the first 200,000 feet, they will go after the other 300,000. The pipeline should never be part of any negotiated settlement.

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Coachella is along for the ride, except I feel they have some legal gripe about not getting any additional water first, if needed, as part of their "3b" water entitlement.

Over the last two years the Imperial County Board of Supervisors has been trying to forge ahead in the transfer. It now appears they are seeking to be the lead authority in the water transfer ahead of the IID. I assume they feel since the IID was allowed to be created in 1911 by the state of California at the request of the county of Imperial, they should be the legal lead.

I feel that would be a terrible mistake. If we were dealing with farmers who were responsible for the water as an allocation to the gate, maybe the county should be the lead. But we are dealing with landowners responsible, possibly for a 75-year lien placed on their land, and there must be some control over the farmers, and that can only happen if the IID is the lead authority. Besides, in 1980 the U.S. Supreme Court, which by the way is the only entity in the U.S. that can take away our water rights, affirmed the IID holds the landowners' water in trust.

The IID — I believe within the next 12 months they will tell everyone involved including the state of California that the current transfer is off. They will say, "If you don't like it, take us to court because we cannot bankrupt our farmers before the transfer event takes place."

The State Water Resources Board wants to take our water just because California doesn't comply with the 4.4 plan. The IID is NOT in any violation of that plan. MWD and SDCWA are.

Finally we come to our state. It appears they want to make us into another Owens Valley. Or more recently, like the Klamath Basin. Neither the state nor federal government has enough surplus money to bail us out. The Klamath Basin fiasco will end up costing us $1-4 billion. "We" will never be held hostage by any environmental group. Our IID board will see to that. Won't they?

P.S. There is one factor nobody talks about. If every governmental agency in the world finally agreed to the terms of a transfer and signed them Sept. 1, or Sept. 2, 2002 at lest five environmental groups will file lawsuits to stop the transfer.

DAVID CASON

El Centro

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