Antoine Abou-Diwan had a story in the Imperial Valley Press (apologies if the link goes away, I think IVP sunsets their stories after a time) capturing the nervous twitches in California’s Imperial Valley over the future allocation of the Colorado River’s water.
Through Friday (source in pdf), IID had diverted 2.9 million acre feet of water, making the agricultural irrigation agency by far the largest water user on the Colorado River. As supplies grow tighter, the folks in the Imperial Valley know full well where people will be looking to try to get more water. Some comments, as reported by Abou-Diwan, following the release earlier this month of the state-federal Basin Study:
While the report outlines various methods that address shortfalls on the Colorado River — from desalination to conservation to water banking — some worry that the agricultural community will be expected to bear most of the burden imposed by shortages.
“You are pitting (urban) populations against agriculture,” said Imperial Irrigation District Director Matt Dessert, when asked what he took away from the conference. Anticipated water shortages make the agricultural community’s pool of water increasingly attractive, he added.
“They’re going to continue to look at ag areas and areas that have water to be squeezed (for more water),” he said.
They’re no dummies because this came up in the 1980s with the droughts and first echoes of a Delta problem, then in the 1990s with the droughts and more Delta solutions and impending overages taken away, then in the oughts with the droughts and budget and SAN and IID, and now in the tens with the droughts (maybe not this year in CA, but on the Colo)…
…and I didn’t even mention the crop types and irrigation changes and the All-American Canal work and and and…
They’d be dummies if they stood around waiting for something to happen. They should put their water up for sale (including among themselves) to establish a value, before it’s taken as “worth nothing.”