River Beat: “This makes ‘Chinatown’ look like high school.”

Kudos to the University of San Diego’s Watchdog Institute for producing, and to the Imperial Valley Press for running, an excellent look at what’s at stake in the upcoming Imperial Irrigation District election. IID, the irrigation agency formed in 1911 to take over the interests of commercial water developers on the California side of the Lower Colorado, controls more water than any other single entity on the Colorado River. So board elections there have far reaching implications.



This election is extra-important because of the entanglements associated with the Quantification Settlement Agreement, an attempt to reduce California’s water usage to within its legal share of the Colorado. To say that key pieces, involving fallowing Imperial Valley farm land, have been controversial is to make an understatement. From Denise Zapata’s story:

The candidates say the district faces a number of important issues, ranging from improving energy and water efficiency to tightening control of the agency’s finances. But nearly all — Ouzan wouldn’t comment for this story — say one of the top priorities is resolving the legal disputes over the Quantification Settlement Agreement, a document that spells out Colorado River water transfers from the Imperial Irrigation District to the San Diego County Water Authority, the Metropolitan Water District and the Coachella Valley Water Authority.

I commend the whole thing to your attention if Colorado River water management is important to you. Also, if you’re interested in the future of journalism, the model by which this was produced and distributed is worthy of note.