U.S. Water News Online
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The California State Senate affirmed the belief that a reliable water supply is essential to all Californians by voting 37-0 in support of SB 1082, a bill by Sen. David Kelley (R-Idyllwild) that encourages the transfer of conserved agricultural water from the Imperial Irrigation District (IID) to the San Diego County Water Authority.
"Today's vote shows that this bill has tremendous support," said Chris Frahm, board chair of the Authority. "We expect the bill will receive the same level of support in the State Assembly."
SB 1082 requires the state Department of Water Resources director, David Kennedy, to recommend the terms and conditions of a wheeling agreement between the Authority and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) if the two agencies don't reach an agreement on the issue by Aug. 15. Wheeling occurs when one agency conveys water through another agency's facility.
"We are looking forward to the role Director Kennedy will play," Frahm said. "He has enormous credibility on the state and national level and the Authority believes that he will recommend a solution that is fair to all parties."
Since January 1996, the Authority has been negotiating with MWD, a water wholesaler to 27 agencies, concerning the delivery of conserved water from IID to the Authority through MWD's Colorado River Aqueduct. The negotiations have been stalled over MWD's proposed wheeling rate, which is much higher than allowed by state law.
"The Authority hopes that MWD will now step forward and strongly support the bill," said Frahm. "We hope MWD will realize that the intended purpose of SB 1082 is to help all of the parties, including MWD, come together to take the steps necessary to provide a reliable water supply for all Californians.
"SB 1082 allows us to stay at the negotiating table rather than pursue other legislative and litigation tactics such as those MWD has under way. The Authority continues to believe that as an act of good faith MWD should dismiss the lawsuit it filed in order to legitimize its exorbitant wheeling rate."
The proposed water transfer would move 200,000 acre-feet of conserved water annually to San Diego County by 2008, according to draft terms reached by the Authority and IID last year.
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