Water Authority welcomes release of water transfer DEIR/DEIS

Short Title
Water Authority welcomes release of water transfer DEIR/DEIS
January 22, 2002

Environmental documents related to the Imperial Irrigation District-San Diego County Water Authority water transfer have been released. The Imperial Irrigation District Water Conservation and Transfer Project Draft Environmental Impact Report/Draft Environmental Impact Statement was released for public review by the IID Jan. 18. "We welcome the release of the document as an opportunity for public discussion and comment," said Water Authority general manager Maureen A. Stapleton. "We also view it as another important milestone reached toward the implementation of the Quantification Settlement Agreement." The Quantification Settlement Agreement between the IID, Coachella Valley Water District and Metropolitan Water District of Southern California settles longstanding disputes regarding Colorado River water rights, quantifies the water allocated, transfers it among the agencies and facilitates the IID-Water Authority water transfer. It is a key component of the California Colorado River Water Use Plan-the state's plan to reduce its use of Colorado River water and live within its allocation in response to the federal government's and the other Colorado River state's pressure to do so. If California does not meet deadlines outlined in the QSA, it could lose 700,000 acre-feet of water a year. The IID-Water Authority transfer will make up to 200,000 acre-feet of conserved agriculture water available to the San Diego region annually. An acre-foot is 326,000 gallons and will serve the needs of two typical families for a year. The release of the EIR draft marks the beginning of a 90-day public review period during which people can submit comments on the study. In addition, a series of public hearings will be held in El Centro, La Quinta and San Diego during this time to accept public comments. "We look forward to continuing our work with the Imperial Irrigation District and the other involved agencies. The cooperation among the four water agencies has been excellent," Stapleton said. Once the water transfer EIR/EIS is certified in July 2002, the Imperial Irrigation District will have 120 days to sign contracts with participating landowners/farmers. The IID and the Water Authority have petitioned for a water transfer permit from the State Water Resources Control Board and expect a decision by fall of this year. "It is good to see the process moving along," Stapleton said. The San Diego County Water Authority is a public agency serving the San Diego region as a wholesale supplier of water from Northern California and the Colorado River. The Water Authority works through its 23 member agencies to provide a safe, reliable water supply to more than 3 million county residents. # # #