I’ve been puzzling over the impact of Imperial Irrigation District’s legal struggle over its “Equitable Distribution Plan”, a regulatory framework for governing how much water individual farmers can use. This story from Daniel Rothberg is a big help:
As a practical matter, the repeal of the Equitable Distribution Plan lessened IID’s control over its plans to potentially store more Colorado River water in Lake Mead, which is a key part of California’s role in the Drought Contingency Plan.
“The absence of [an Equitable Distribution Plan] means that we lack a very important tool that has served us since 2013, and will certainly reverberate throughout the basin and among all the Colorado River water users,” Kevin Kelley, IID’s general manager, told the board on February 6….
Without the allocation system, IID’s water use is determined less by its elected board and the staff and more by the orders of agricultural users, which can vary. The ruling leaves the district with fewer management tools to control overruns and conservation.