The Imperial Irrigation District Board of Directors will begin the New Year with Norma Galindo as its president. Galindo was elected Monday afternoon to replace Erik Ortega for the next one-year term. Director Alex Cardenas will take over as vice president, replacing James Hanks.
Expecting new and more challenging negotiations to face the Imperial Irrigation District, its board Monday afternoon adopted a new set of parameters that define the scope of the district’s role in the coordinated operations of the river.
The resolution will establish Colorado River parameters as IID looks ahead to 2026 when new negotiations will define its role.
The ag community at a Friday afternoon IID water conservation meeting wanted to know what the IID plans to change with water conservation payments projected to exceed the budget by $11.7 million. IID’s conservation needs under water transfer agreements with the San Diego County Water Authority and others are 303,000 acre feet. Of that, 103,000 acre feet comes from system conservation. The rest comes from on-farm water conservation.
Since 2003, Imperial Irrigation District has conserved almost 4.8 million acre feet of water, mostly through water transfers and agreements. A 1988 agreement between IID and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California near Los Angles has amounted to 1.56 million of that amount since 2003 at the Imperial Dam.
A notice published recently in the Federal Register is not sitting well with Imperial Irrigation District. That notice, submitted by the Department of Interior through the Bureau of Reclamation and published on Feb. 1, calls recommendations from the governors of the seven Colorado River Basin state for protective actions the Department of Interior should take in the absence of a completed drought contingency plan. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman set a deadline of Jan. 31 for states to complete and approve a DCP.
The death of a couple thousand birds of an infectious disease at the Salton Sea earlier this month has helped underscore the impact of diminished quality and quantity of the habitats there. A large number of ruddy ducks, as well as gulls and other birds, migrating to the sea for the winter were killed between Jan. 8 and Jan. 17 by avian cholera, an infectious bacterial disease that spreads through direct contact.
With the start of the new year came the start of a 17-month consulting service agreement between the Imperial Irrigation District board and its recently retired general manager, Kevin Kelley. The value of the contract, which is specifically for consultation between Kelley and the IID Board of Directors, not IID staff, is just under $396,000. It ends May 30, 2020, the same date Kelley’s employment contract as GM would have ended had he not retired, said IID board President Erik Ortega.
After only a little more than six months as the Imperial Irrigation District energy manager, Henry Martinez will be the next permanent general manager of the district starting Jan. 1. Martinez succeeds current GM Kevin Kelley, who will retire as of Dec. 31.
After four public workshops, the Imperial Irrigation District Board of Directors will be asked Monday to approve an agreement that addresses California’s part to save the drought-plagued Colorado River as well as bolster supplies of water to Lake Mead. IID General Manager said staff will recommend the approval of the intra-California drought contingency plan agreement between IID and Metropolitan Water District, but the decision ultimately lies with the board.
The city of Calexico is planning to spend more than $50 million on improvements for its outdated water and wastewater infrastructure as part of its five-year capital improvement plan. The monies will come from a combination of recently approved — and controversial — water and sewer rate changes, as well as the anticipated sale of up to $50 million in bonds.