At its October 22nd meeting, the Imperial Irrigation District Board of Directors voted against passing the Revised Equitable Distribution Plan and 2014 Apportionment.
The board’s 3-2 vote effectively remanded the plan to staff for a re-do. Because of certain provisions and obligations under the federal Inadvertent Overrun and Payback Policy (IOPP), IID staff has deemed it necessary to implement equitable distribution of the district’s 2014 water supply. IID has a payback obligation of 154,738 AF, all of which is due in 2014. The hydrological conditions and the elevation of Lake Mead at the beginning of 2013 have triggered an obligation for IID to payback its entire 2012 overrun in 2014, in addition to paying the remainder of its 2011 overrun. The IOPP also prohibits overrun in a payback year, thus limiting the district’s 2014 available water supply.
The plan, which was similar to the 2013 pilot program, would have implemented straight-line apportionment of 5.45 AF/acre and would have established a clearinghouse to allow irrigators to transfer water both among their own fields and among each other. A straight-line method of apportionment was being prepared for 2014 because of the short time period available before water users must be notified.
The Water Conservation Committee and district staff recognize that there is interest is an equitable distribution plan based on historical use—a sentiment that was echoed in comments made at the board meeting—but have been unable to agree on a specific method for incorporating historical use. They recommended continuing to discuss and work on such method for implementation in future years.
By Marta Weismann, Director of Research