Districts will equally share funding obligation and water supply from the pilot project
The Imperial Irrigation District (IID) and Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) boards of directors have each authorized their general managers to execute an agreement that would allow for IID participation in the Minute 319 Binational Pilot Project.
IID is not currently a participant in Minute 319. At the time that Minute 319 was executed, IID had not yet reached an agreement with MWD regarding how the two agencies would share California’s funding obligation and allotted binational Intentionally Created Surplus (ICS). But a clause inserted into the pilot project funding agreement allowed MWD and IID to continue negotiations.
Under the Minute 319 Binational Pilot Project, U.S. entities are providing $21 million in funding for water conservation project in Mexico to generate 124,000 acre-feet of conserved water, which will be stored in the United States as Intentionally Created Mexican Allocation (ICMA). The U.S. federal government committed to $11 million, and the Lower Basin water contractors committed to funding $10 million in exchange for conversion of 95,000 acre-feet of ICMA to ICS credits. Of the $10 million from the Lower Basin water contractors, Southern Nevada Water Authority and Central Arizona Water Conservation District each have committed to providing 25% of the funding for 25% of the ICS, while MWD has committed to providing 50% of the funding for 50% of the ICS.
Prior to execution of Minute 319, MWD was offering IID up to 20% of the pilot project water supply. Under the proposed agreement, MWD and IID will equally share California’s funding obligation and water supply from the pilot project.
In the financial analysis presented to the board of directors, IID staff note that participation in the pilot project will cost $2.5 million—but in exchange, the district will receive 23,750 acre-feet of binational ICS credits available to IID before December 21, 2017. Essentially, IID will be paying $105.26/acre-foot for water that can be used to meet current overrun payback obligations or held in storage to meet future overrun payback obligation or to serve municipal and industrial water demands. If it used to meet current overrun obligations, it will reduce the fallowed acreage by about 4,500 acres and provide a cost-saving of about $450,000. Staff anticipates similar financial benefits if it is held in storage.
Written by Marta Weismann