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MWD-Imperial Negotiations

December 22, 1987

In a letter Gerald Moore, president of the Imperial Irrigation District's (Imperial) Board of Directors, discussed the ongoing negotiations with the Metropolitan Water District on a water conservation agreement (Nov. 28). He stated that Metropolitan has been misleading the press and public on this matter. This is untrue.

Waste of water by Imperial continues to be an issue in both regulatory hearings and in court. In 1984, the State Water Resources Control Board concluded that Imperial's failure to implement additional water conservation measures constituted a misuse of water under the California Constitution. The board ordered Imperial to prepare a water conservation plan which was to include an implementation schedule and a financing arrangement.

Following a Court of Appeal ruling that the board had the authority to render and enforce its decision, the board held a hearing earlier this year on water conservation actions that Imperial has taken since 1984. Imperial continues to challenge the merits of the board's decision in Superior Court.

Concurrently in 1984, Imperial invited Metropolitan to negotiate the financing of a water conservation program. Metropolitan would use the water conserved. Technical reports prepared by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and Imperial's engineering consultant, Parsons Water Resources, have indicated that 350,000 acre-feet could be conserved annually. This amount of water would serve the needs of 1.75 million people each year.

Metropolitan has been willing to pay all of the costs of a conservation program. Under Metropolitan's proposal, Imperial's ratepayers would not be financially burdened with the costs of complying with the board's order.

In 1985, Metropolitan and Imperial negotiators reached an understanding that initially we would provide funding of $10 million annually and use 100,000 acre-feet of conserved water. Unfortunately, Imperial's Board of Directors rejected this offer.

Imperial's negotiating team has demanded more, $25 million inflated annually by the cost of living, but has not shown us how all the funds could possibly be spent on conservation activities.

Over a 35-year period, Imperial would have Southern Californians pay over $1 billion more than it would cost to conserve 100,000 acre-feet of water annually.

We remain willing to negotiate an agreement which reflects the true costs of a water conservation program in the Imperial Valley.


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