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Imperial Valley Board Declares Water Shortage

The Imperial Irrigation District has taken a first step toward possible water rationing by declaring a water shortage.

The district irrigation board voted unanimously Tuesday on a declaration recognizing that demand for water outstrips supplies in Imperial County. The move allows staff to develop specific plans for doling out water to farmers, municipalities and industrial users.

Water district general manager Charles Hosken said it is a necessary step because the Imperial Irrigation District, which for decades had prided itself on having ample water to meet industrial needs, now faces a challenging period where supplies are limited.

"Times have changed," Hosken said.

Any plan would likely go into effect Jan. 1 and last a year before the board would have to revisit the issue and vote again to continue the program.

Some residents have consistently opposed rationing plans.

"There will be a political price to pay for unwise decisions," said resident Benny Andres.

Director James Hanks said the district must take action because it is going into its second year of using more than its share of Colorado River water.

"I think we need to make a move now before there is a shortage on the river," he said.

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