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IID asked to rewrite transfer EIR study

May 30, 2002|By RUDY YNIGUEZ

Staff Writer

The Bureau of Reclamation is asking the Imperial Irrigation District to rewrite the water transfer environmental study because it is warranted by some of the comments that were submitted in response to the study.

"We just need to make sure it is adequate from the federal perspective," said Bob Walsh, Reclamation spokesman. "This is not an absolute requirement."

Walsh said a number of comments to the draft environmental impact report require major changes to the document.

Elston Grubaugh, IID planning and resources manager, told the IID Board of Directors on Monday that it will cost as much as $300,000 to rewrite the draft EIR and that he would prefer to issue errata sheets instead, something to which Reclamation is opposed, according to Walsh.


IID and Reclamation are co-lead agencies for the transfer's study, with IID responsible to meet the California Environmental Quality Act and Reclamation responsible to meet the National Environmental Policy Act requirements. The draft EIR is being finalized and the IID board is tentatively scheduled to certify it June 25.

Walsh said Reclamation is working with IID to meet that schedule.

"We're working real hard to do that," he said, adding Reclamation wants to do what is easiest and is flexible.

Walsh also acknowledged Reclamation is asking IID to repay a 100,000 acre-foot overdraft from last year and to reduce this year's request of 3.1 million acre-feet to something less, although he said he does not know what the reduced amount is. He also said he does not know if Reclamation is asking any other California users to reduce their requests and if so, for how much.

He said the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California was asked to repay an over-draw and has agreed.

"We're asking IID to repay theirs," Walsh said. "We're in discussions with them on how they're going to do that."

Walsh said Reclamation's request that IID reduce this year's request is in response to hydrologic conditions on the Colorado River and to keep water deliveries within the year's operating plan.

He said this year's snow pack is 30 percent of normal. He also said projected deliveries for this year, as of May 23, include 1.255 million acre-feet to MWD and 3.827 million to the agricultural entitlements. These latter include the Palo Verde Irrigation District, Reclamation's Yuma Division, the Coachella Valley Water District and IID. He said about another 27,000 acre-feet will go to others.

Under the state's 1931 Seven Party Agreement, the agricultural entitlement is 3.85 million acre-feet in a normal flow year. MWD is entitled to 550,000, and the state to a total of 4.4 million, also during normal flows. During surplus flows, the numbers are higher.

Walsh said the river's flow and its associated reservoirs "are way down."

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

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