The Imperial Irrigation District identified recipients for their fallowing grant program, but applicants not selected can appeal.The gist of this story is that anyone who claims harm from fallowing that resulted from IID's water sales to SDCWA is eligible for compensation.
Nine applicants who scored 75 percent or higher based on their request for proposal will share $2.2 million.
The RFP, scored by an independent panel of professional grant readers, required applicants to show that fallowing created a hardship, and how they would stimulate the economy and boost employment.
So they make up stories, and professional grant readers decide if the stories are good enough.
This is silly.
- IID has not agreed to send more than 10 percent of its water to cities. The scope for harm with 10 percent fallowing is pretty small.
- Economists found a net benefit from IID's fallowing/sales program to SDCWA. IID ignored that report.*
- There are better ways to decide who fallows.** I'd do a reverse auction: Set the number of acres to fallow (x) and accept the x lowest bids for fallowing. I bet that the price is less than the $200+/- that IID gets for the water.***
* I can't find a link on the web, but it's: Sunding, David and Kubota, Gordon H. and Mitchell, David (2004). "Third-Party Impacts of Land Fallowing Associated with IID-SDCWA Water Transfer: 2003 and 2004." Local Entity and San Diego County Water Authority.
**IID, if I remember right, fixes a price (a fraction of the $200+/af they get for water) and then asks for takers. When there are too few acres, IID fallows its own land, but that system may have changed.
*** My impression is also that IID likes to spend that money on itself, not transfer it to the farmers it supposedly represents.