Farmers in the Imperial Irrigation District are upset that their water price will rise by $1/af per year over the next 3 years to $20/af.
Yes, that's over 16,000 gallons for a buck. Quite a deal? Not according to the farmers. They say that "viable agriculture" cannot handle the extra $3 charge. (Farmers use 97 percent of IID's water.)
Urban and industrial customers are not facing price increases, but they already pay more -- $68 and $85/af, respectively. Although those prices are about 10 percent of the price these customer classes pay on the coast, one IID director thought they should be lowered to the ag price.
Amidst all this is the most interesting part: IID's budget -- after the price increases -- will still be in deficit.
The article notes that protests against the price hike were stymied by IID's over-restrictive protest process. 40 percent of "landowners" were able to lodge a protest, but 50 percent was necessary to stop the price increase. I imagine that a number of farmers are sharpening their pitchforks for the next stage in this battle with "their" irrigation district.
As I have written before, IID is dysfunctional, and this story just adds another chapter in that book.
Bottom Line: Mismanaged water helps nobody, and bad governance contributes to that mismanagement. IID needs to be broken in two (water and power) to end its waste of water and over-expansion/over-reliance into dirty power (only 15% of IID power [PDF] is from hydro; the rest comes from coal and natural gas).