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Water Shortage Threatens Livelihood For Many In The Imperial Valley

Water Shortage Threatens Livelihood For Many In The Imperial Valley
When we think of the Imperial Valley we think dry, hot, desert conditions but the valley is home to an enormous agricultural industry. Farmers in Imperial Valley have a long history, we'll hear what's happening now to jeopardize the future of the industry.

Some experts say there is a fifty per cent chance that Lake Mead, the giant reservoir behind the Hoover dam, could dry up in the next few decades. That grim gamble is a sobering possibility for us here in San Diego since Lake Mead stores Colorado River water, a prime source of water for much of southern California.

Not only does it supply the cities but hundreds of farmers in the Imperial Valley depend on it.

About 400 farmers there have rights to a fifth of the river's water to irrigate their crops. They are making strides to conserve precious water, but as nature, development, and now climate change continue to place stress on the Colorado river, conservation may not be enough.


Krissy Clark, Los Angeles Bureau Chief, The California Report, KQED Public Radio

Brad Jennings, Editor of the Imperial Valley Press.

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This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

ALISON ST. JOHN: Water and energy pose big challenges for San Diego and the Imperial Valley. I'm Alison St. John in for Maureen Cavanaugh, coming up on These Days, the California report recently aired special stories on the ongoing struggle for water in the Imperial Valley, some have said over the long run, the Imperial Valley agriculture just can't be sustained if growing cities like San Diego take more of the shrinking supplies of we'll discuss that, and the groundbreaking of the sunrise power link on our Imperial County. Then new tiger cubs will liven up on the San Diego zoo's safari park, and provide some hope for one of the world's most endangered species. That's all ahead this hour on These Days. First the news.

You're listening to These Days in San Diego, I'm Alison St. John. Sitting in for Maureen Cavanaugh. Some experts say there's a 50 percent chance that laked me, the giant reservoir behind the hoofer dam could dry up in the next few decades, that grim gamble is a sobering possibility for us here in San Diego since Lake Mead's draw is the Colorado river water, that's a prime source of water for much of Southern California. Not only does it supply the cities but hundreds of farmers in the Imperial Valley depend on it. About 400 farmers there have rights to a 5th of the river water to irrigate their drops. They are making strides in conservation, but as nature, development, and now climate change continues to place stress on the Colorado river, conservation may not be enough. The California report's Los Angeles bureau chief, Krissy Clark, has been reporting on this as part of the climate watch project. And she joins us now. Thanks very much for being with us, Krissy.

KRISSY CLARK: It's nice to be with you.

ALISON ST. JOHN: So when we think of the Imperial Valley, we think of hot, dry desert conditions. But the valley is home to an enormous agricultural industry, so tell us a little bit about the background of how water came to the Imperial Valley to make agriculture possible.

KRISSY CLARK: It's definite counter intuitive to have a billion dollar agricultural industry in the middle of the desert. And in fact, delegations from arid regions from around the world have visited this remote corner of California over the years to study and to imitate is. It's kind of the textbook example of the phrase making the desert bloom. And the bloom is largely thanks to that miracle of modern engineering known as Hoover dam. This is the giant dam near Las Vegas that creates Lake Mead and stores and manages Colorado river water for much of the southwest. And a full 20 percent of that water from the Colorado river is shunted to the Imperial Valley through a canal that runs just north of the Mexican border. Some of your listeners may have seen it as they've driven through that part of the world. It's known as the all American canal, and the federal government built it in the 1930s at the same time they were building Hoover dam. It's a pretty amazing site. It takes this shimmering blue water across 82 miles of sandy desert to get to the Imperial Valley, where suddenly thanks to that water, the landscape goes from being beige to emerald green, then a smaller network of channels takes that water to various farms across the Imperial Valley.

ALISON ST. JOHN: So Krissy, why does Imperial Valley get such a significant portion of the state's shrinking water supply.

KRISSY CLARK: Well, the short answer that they got to it first. Water law in the western U.S. is largely based on a first come, first serve model of it's what they call first in time, first in right. So back when the western states got together in the 1920s to divvy uprights to the Colorado river, farmers in the Imperial Valley were there and they got dibs to a lot of it. You have to remember that back then, cities like Las Vegas and Phoenix were barely glimmers in the west's eye. And San Diego wasn't such a force as it is now, neither was LA. So there weren't a lot of other people in parts of the southwest. And it was easy for these farmers to claim so much of it. The economy was very different back then too. It was much more know an agricultural economy. So of course, the landscape has changed dramatically since then. Now we've got big, sprawling cities from the southwest, and they look at all the water that the Imperial County farmers use, and they're not happy about it. I met a guy named Vince Brook who works for the Imperial Irrigation District which manages water for the Imperial Valley, and he tours a lot of delegations from various southwestern cities around the Imperial Valley. They're sort of water wonks and various water policy guys, and he hears them grumbling in the back of the tour bus about how much water farmers use. Here's how he describes what he overhears.

NEW SPEAKER: You can tell when they're just -- how can I say this diplomatically? They're just not on board. They just think we're water wasters, we're water hogs, the egg sponge. If you need water, we've got those folks down there to get it from. But I think you need to look at where you want to be as a nation and just realize that the Imperial Valley, Yuma, provide probably 75 percent of the nation's vegetables in the winter time. You know, it's big, big industry that supplies a big, big need for our nation.

KRISSY CLARK: And in fact, it's estimated that the Imperial Valley and the neighboring valley of Yuma Arizona provide Americans with around 80 percent of the vegetables that we all eat in the winter. So as crazy as it may seem to have some of -- to have all of this agriculture in the desert, you can also argue, and some people do that it makes a lot of sense of it's a flat valley with very rich soil thanks to the geology of the region, it's got pretty much a 365-day growing season, so when land developers looked at this valley in the early 20th century, they thought, all we need is water, this place is perfect for farming and at that point, they thought the Colorado river could provide them with plenty of water. Of course there were a few unexpected wrenches thrown in that plan and that's not quite how it's turning out now.

ALISON ST. JOHN: Well, exactly. It does seem that that farming is kind of essential to our survival here. We can talk more about that later. But since that deal was struck, a few things have changed right.

KRISSY CLARK: Yes. A number of social and political and environmental things have changed. For one thing, as we discussed a lot more people have moved to this region. Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas, and Phoenix all have grown enormously since the river was divvied up in the early 1900s and those cities are full of people who need to use the water. They take showers and cook dinners and have lawns and gardens and play golf. And there are all of these urban needs that weren't really anticipated decades ago.

ALISON ST. JOHN: And apart from the fact that the region's grown exponentially, what has contributed to what is now quite a shortage of water.

KRISSY CLARK: Well, there's also the climate. And there's a few sort of different aspects to the climate issue that are compounding each other. First of all, it turns out that what back when Hoover dam was built in the 1930s and the Colorado river was being divvied up, we happened to be in the middle of the wettest century of the last millennia or so. People didn't know it at the time, but since then, scientists have discovered actually very recently, through tree ring analysis, they can look back at ancient trees and see how much rain fell in various centuries. And as luck would have it, when water officials were allocating how much water various parties could get back in the early 20th century, they thought the water pie was a lot bigger than it was. So they divided that pie up to too many people. They over allocated the water. And the problem is, that wet period that we experienced in the 20th century, seemed to have ground to a dramatic halt recently. The Colorado River Basin is now in its eleventh year of drought. And water supplies are shrinking. You can see that very dramatically if you go to Lake Mead where you actually see I big kind of white bathtub ring from the water that has receded into the reservoir. Now the water is at its lowest level ever since Hoover dam was built. And then, of course, there are all of those green house gases that we have been putting into the atmosphere offer the last century or so. And scientists predict that that is going to make matters worse. Climate change models show even the most cautious ones show that by 2057, Lake Mead has hay 50 percent chance of drying up if the region doesn't dramatically change its water use habits soon.

ALISON ST. JOHN: Which is pretty important piece of information for those of us living here in Southern California, whether we're farmers or living in the city. And of course, you know, we're all talking about conservation. But tell us, what are the farmers doing to conserve water.

KRISSY CLARK: Well, a number of things, over the last several years, federal and state officials have used sort of a combination of carrots and sticks to pressure farmers to become more water efficient. There are different irrigation techniques that farmers have started using. In the old day, most farmers especially in the Imperial Valley could basically flood their fields, and a lot of the water would run off and get wasted. So now they capture a lot of that water run off and pump it back into the fields to reuse it. They've also installed sprinklers that allow water applications to become more precise. So they can regulate it more. Of course, all of these things cost money. So that's been an issue of who's going to pay for the efficiency improvements.

ALISON ST. JOHN: And there's a lot of different ways to conserve water. What else is being done to stretch those water supplies.

KRISSY CLARK: Well, they're trying really, a little of everything. San Diego actually just paid millions of dollars, several million dollars, to line portions of the all American canal that we were talking about earlier, to line this canal with concrete to capture water that used to leak out because it was built in sandy -- it had a sandy bottom. So they also teamed up with other cities, Los Angeles and Las Vegas, to build 92er, smaller reservoirs to capture some of the Colorado river water that used to flow down to Mexico. So they're trying to kind of be as efficient as they can, and then San Diego and other cities are getting some of that extra water from the farmers, the water that they saved. The most controversial water conservation measure though in the Imperial Valley has been what's called the fallowing program. A few years ago, farmers reluctantly agreed to stop farming some of their fields at least temporary. San Diego and Los Angeles are paying farmers thousands of dollars an acre not to use water on their fields. And then that unused water gets transferred to cities of it's a very controversial idea. A lot of farmers think that it's the beginning of a kind of slippery slope that could under mine the agricultural industry in the Imperial Valley. Some of the farmers I met would just flat out not talk to me about the fallowing program because it's such a hot button issue. But I did talk to one retired farmer who was pretty candid about all of this. This is a guy named John Pierre Menvielle. He also sits on the board of the Imperial Irrigation Districts. Here's what he had to say.

NEW SPEAKER: We want to be good stores for the land, and good patterns with our urban patterns on the coastal plane, but you can only get so much blood out of a turnip. And if we can't produce anymore water from conservation, then we're not gonna be giving up anymore water because we need it here to farm with.

PEGGY PICO: So the cities have a lot of political clout. Do you worry that at some time you may not be able to stop them?

NEW SPEAKER: The other thing that I say is they want to put restrictions on us, and how we grow our crops and the amount of water we use here. Where are their restrictions? Any project that they develop over there, they should have a 20 or a 30 or a 40-year supply of water. And if they don't have the supply of water to build projects, then they shouldn't build them.

ALISON ST. JOHN: So the farmers are pretty determined to keep going. But what are the farmers that you speak to saying about confidence that they have about the future of their business.

KRISSY CLARK: Well, it's an interesting dynamic. Because right now, while crop prices are pretty low in a lot of the world. Some farmers are actually profiting from fallowing their fields, because they can get more money not farming but through this fallowing program than they would if they were actually selling crops and putting money to grow crops on the field. But over the long run, most farmers I talked to were very adamant that this should only be a short term solution because otherwise, it could kind of disrupt the whole economic base of the valley. Because in the long run, it doesn't just affect the farmers themselves. But there are layers of local service industries that are intertwined with agriculture from the fertilizer companies to the tractor salesmen, to the guy who sells the pesticides, to the guy who sprays the pesticides on the fields, and of course to the farm workers who plant and harvest those fields. And while the agricultural industry seems to be fairly stable for now, farmers say they can't afford to give up anymore water. But given the climate predictions and dwindling water supplies in the southwest, they might have to.

ALISON ST. JOHN: So I mean, the farmer that you spoke to who said, look, if there's only 20, 30, 40 years supply of water, we shouldn't be building more. I think a lot of people are asking that question. But if the farmers use their lively hood to go to the cities, is there agreement on the larger impact on the failure of the businesses? I mean, can we live here without those farmers?

KRISSY CLARK: Well, there is definitely not agreement on that. This is a very controversial and complicated subject. There are certainly people who say though, look, agriculture in the southwest has been an important part of the region's history and culture over the last part of the century. But they argue that's not a necessary component. One person with that opinion is a guy named Doug Kenny. He runs the western Water Policy Institute at the University of Colorado. And here's how he put it.

NEW SPEAKER: I imagine what will happen is money will flow from cities to farmers and water will flow from farms to cities. We don't need our agriculture in the western U.S. to feed the population. And while it's an important part of the economy, but if agriculture were to go away, life would go on in the western U.S.

ALISON ST. JOHN: Is there any talk already about where California would get the vegetables that are currently being grown in the Imperial Valley if that were to happen.

KRISSY CLARK: Well, this is obviously not something that would happen over night. This is something that may be over the long run perhaps agriculture will become less and less of a part of the fabric of California. If we collectively, as a state, decide that that's something that we think is the right thing to do. I think that they point to -- I mean, we already get a lot of our vegetables from different corners of the globe. And whether or not that's something that people think is a good thing to do, that requires some discussion. But I think that would be -- that's what some people argue. And of course the farmers themselves say, no, this is a matter of food security that we -- America needs to produce some of its own food here. The question is, is this desert landscape the right place and how do you balance all of these various water needs in a place that has a limited and dwindling amount of water?

ALISON ST. JOHN: And of course, there are some farms closer to home here in San Diego County that a lot of people are quite attached to, having some agriculture on the outskirts in our San Pasqual valley, and wouldn't like to see it go, but there will have to be some very difficult decisions made. Who is gonna ultimately decide, up, where the water goes? What's gonna be the outcome?

KRISSY CLARK: Well, as we've discussed, water managers are trying conservation and technological fixes. And there are actually even quite dramatic plans being contemplated by the federal government and other folks to provide more water for the region, either through desalinating millions of gallons of Pacific ocean water or piping water thousands of miles from the Mississippi. These again are not over night plans, but things over the next several decades that though they sound startling now might actually --

ALISON ST. JOHN: Be cost effective.

KRISSY CLARK: Yeah, and be part of our lives of but ultimately, it's not really a question of engineering as much as it is a question of politics. Because already the federal government is negotiating a series of contingency plans about whose water supplies would get cut off first or shrunk back if Lake Mead falls below a certain level. And the people who live in the southwest, in cities like San Diego and Los Angeles and Phoenix and Las Vegas, have to decide ultimately what they want to do. Do they want agriculture in the southwest? Do they want the region to become more and more urban? There's a lot of cliches about water in the west. One of the most famous is that whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting. And it's a kind of funny line, but I think that the whiskey part might need to be revised a little bit, because the water issues in the southwest and the Imperial Valley are pretty sobering right now.

ALISON ST. JOHN: That's right. Well, thank you so much for doing that series of reports. This reporting was all part of this series that you're doing, the climate watch series, from the California report. Anything to be looking out for from that series in the near future.

KRISSY CLARK: Yeah, my colleague, Craig Miller, will actually be following a vote coming up this Thursday where the California air resources board will finally be choosing the specific regulations for the carbon trading program, which was authorized by that law, AB32, in 2006. This program was -- is supposed to go into effect in early 2012, and AB32 which we heard a lot about in the discussions around proposition 23 earlier this year, it actually merely legalized a cap and trade program but did not get into the specifics of it. And so they have been trying all this time to devise one. So Thursday is gonna be a big day in terms of getting down to the nitty-gritty of what that might mean. And then we have some reporting in the works on the potential for more wind energy development in California. And also a story coming in on the role of climate in beetle infestations that's threatened the Sierra forest. So let's of interesting things to look out for.

ALISON ST. JOHN: We'll keep an ear out for that. Krissy, thanks very much.

KRISSY CLARK: Thanks so much.

ALISON ST. JOHN: That's Krissy Clark, the Los Angeles bureau chief of the California report. Stay with us, coming up, we'll be speaking with Brad Jennings, the editor of the Imperial Valley press who of course has an inside look of the situation of the Imperial Valley and water. That's coming upright after the break.

ALISON ST. JOHN: And you're back on These Days, and we have on the line with us Brad Jennings who is editor of the Imperial Valley press, to talk a little bit more about this issue of water which affects both San Diego and hundreds of farmers in the Imperial Valley. Brad, thanks so much for being with us.

BRAD JENNINGS: You're welcome.

ALISON ST. JOHN: So Brad, the story that Krissy painted was one of a future that is very much in question with Lake Mead. 50 percent chance of drying up in the next few decades. So would you say that there is a water shortage currently in the valley? Is it as dire as we're hearing.

BRAD JENNINGS: I don't think that people here feel that we have a water shortage. I could be wrong, I'm not a farmer, but I talk with people involved in agriculture, with the imperial irrigation district fairly often, and I don't think we have that feeling. As a matter of fact we have had some excesses because of conversationists. And so of course the water could run dry, we could have problems. Those things might be coming but I don't get the sense right now that we're on the edge of catastrophe.

ALISON ST. JOHN: Okay. So apart from being an environmental issue, this is a very hot political issue. Who are the key players.

BRAD JENNINGS: Well, are the list of key players expands all the time. Of course you have farmers, you have farming interests, you have the imperial irrigation district, which is I public entity that manages the water. You have the government, you have the federal government which has forced the water agreement, they've kind of push everybody to, hey, you guys have got to get this water agreement, the quantification settlement agree, the QSA, but you also have internal pressures, you have the county fighting with the IID, you have certain farmers who don't like things going on at the IID. So there definitely are some issues going on here politically. But you also have the big players. I noticed in her story, Krissy Clark said at the end of one of the stories, which I agree with, it's a question of priorities and politics. But really, it's not even a question about priorities anymore, it's a question of politics and cities like San Diego, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, they have a lot more political clout than we do. And that is an issue, and that is something we're worried about.

ALISON ST. JOHN: So the economy in the Imperial Valley is already suffering. Unemployment there is nearly 30 percent.


ALISON ST. JOHN: You know, is water the biggest hurdle to creating jobs in the region?

BRAD JENNINGS: Well, if we didn't have water, we would have bigger problems. I think that is pretty clear. You know, we're kind of caught between a bit of a rock and a hard place with this issue. You know, the State of California wants more renewable energies, and Imperial Valley can definitely be a mecca for that. We look forward to that future. And some of these renewable energy plants require water. We do definitely 92 need those. It just depends on how you look at the economy in California. If you want good renewable energy, if you want good farmlands, if you want those things you have to make sure that the water source stays here. When we drive to San Diego, I'll be very frank, when you see someone out washing their car in the streets, or their fountains running, it's a little disconcerting for us here when they complain about needing more water and you see fountains and water shows. That doesn't translate for us here because we need water for fields, it's a billion dollar industry here. We feed the country in so many ways with vegetables, especially the winter crops. We have to make sure what our priorities are. But the politics always definitely takes an upper hand in these things.

ALISON ST. JOHN: Well, speaking of politics, one of the members of the imperial irrigation district's water conservation advisory board was just fired. Is that gonna help? Or harm -- what's the outcome of that.

BRAD JENNINGS: Well, that's a question that we have too. And certainly there are some internal conflicts and external conflicts, and these people sometimes don't see eye to eye. And it's troubling when a farmer is just replaced. And no real reason other than a farmer is just replaced, and no other reason than we need new blood is given. It's true. Boards and commissions need new blood from time to times. But I think the people who make these appointments, in this case, it's an elected official, they need to tell us why they're making these changes. I think they need to be specific about it. Water, it's not quite a blood sport. But it definitely is something around here that is very serious. We take it all very seriously. So I think we need to be very open when we do these things.

ALISON ST. JOHN: So that may have more to do with personal political reasons than things that would actually change policy. I wanted to ask you, how about Mexico's interests in the Colorado river water? How is that playing into the drama.

BRAD JENNINGS: Well, right now, I think we've gotten past some of those things with the lining of the all American canal, and that water going to San Diego. That was a bit of a problem at first because that water used to just kind of leech, kind of seep into Mexico and they got free water. A 200000, 167,000 acre feed of water a year, I believe. That caused kind of an uproar when that canal was lined and they lost that water. But that has kind of died down since of and that hasn't really become an issue.

ALISON ST. JOHN: Okay. Now, I know that there are -- that's been articles in the paper about huge solar plants being built out there.


ALISON ST. JOHN: But will that bring jobs to the region or are most of those jobs the kind of high school jobs that might go elsewhere? How would local people be able to take advantage of that.

BRAD JENNINGS: You know, it's a good question. And the one thing that we can hang our hat on is some construction jobs, some construction work. Of course those are temporary. Some of these are gonna require some permanent jobs of we don't know how many. However, if you develop a real infrastructure of these renewable energy jobs in varying degrees and different kinds of projects, hopefully you will be able to build a good case to give people jobs to supply waters because that's definitely what we need. One big project is definitely not going to turn this around. Multiple ones and people looking at the valley in a different way, we believe cumulatively, those will help.

ALISON ST. JOHN: I heard that the electoral workers union is holding training courses to help local people get the skills that might be able to get them to land a job out there.

BRAD JENNINGS: Judges, absolutely, and the local community college is doing what it can to help training and prepare for this. Quite frankly though, we've talked about it for so long, we need to get past the talking stage and we need to get things done here. The permitting process takes forever, there are so many environmental regulations, so many lawsuits, you know, we just broke around recently -- in the we, on the line that's going to take this renewable energy back into the coast. The sunrise power link.

ALISON ST. JOHN: Sunrise. .

BRAD JENNINGS: Right. And that's taken years to get to this point, and still there are protests, and still there are lawsuit. I understand it. But if we continue to account this way and do these things, and this process takes so long. Of we may never get anything accomplished.

ALISON ST. JOHN: So there are obviously very much groups that are opposed to that power lineup. But from your perspective, how important is it.

BRAD JENNINGS: Well, it's important. If we want to be a center for renewable energy, we need to have this line to transport that energy out of. We have clean energy we want to produce here, we need to get it out of the valley. So it's very, very important to us.

ALISON ST. JOHN: Now, there's an item that just appeared on our wires this morning, actually, that the Imperial County board of supervisors is gonna hold a public hearing on a proposed military training center in Ocotillo.


ALISON ST. JOHN: That's news to us. Can you tell us a little bit more about that.

BRAD JENNINGS: You know, it's only news to people who don't live here because they haven't been paying attention. Because it's been going on for years upon I've been here for close to five years, and this issue was going on when I got here.

ALISON ST. JOHN: A hundred million dollars, 900 acre military and law enforcement training center.

BRAD JENNINGS: Yeah, although I'm afraid it gets couched in many different ways. And we have had many, many discussions with people on both sides of this issue, and I personally have met with Brandon web, the man who wants to bring this wind zero project here a number of times. And mainly what they're looking at, and of course it has changed a little bit, but a law enforcement training center is something that all law enforcement here support. They have -- I believe it may be unanimous, 100 percent of all local law enforcement because now they have to send people to get trained here out of the county and it costs taxpayers a lot of money. Tens and tens of thousands of dollars. So this is something that local law enforcement supports, it's something the newspaper has supported because it is new development, it is jobs, it's a chance for us to go into a new market and to keep our training local. Of course, we'll see, though. Of it's very controversial. I understand the concerns of people out in the Ocotillo area. The problem is, it's reached such a fever pitch that the reality and what everybody is saying, I think, somebody are two different things.

ALISON ST. JOHN: Well, it is looking at the map, just not that far east of where there was a proposal a couple of years ago by black water to build a training facility.


ALISON ST. JOHN: Near Campo.


ALISON ST. JOHN: Is there any connection between the two.

BRAD JENNINGS: There's not. And I think that's part of the issue. Black water was started by a former Navy seal, and wind 0 is a company that's owned by a former Navy seal. As far as we can tell, that's the only thing. They are not a paramilitary group. They aren't going to be, you know, training commandos and mercenaries. As far as we can tell, there is no connection but black water is -- can put such a black eye on any other development like this.

ALISON ST. JOHN: So this company, San Diego based company, is called wind zero inc. Different connotations there. But the public hearing that's happening today, at what point in the process is this happening? Is this signaling that something might actually happen?

BRAD JENNINGS: Well, they were supposed to vote on it right before the election, and strangely they decided to postpone -- actually, not strangely, that's politicians kind of trying to damage a bullet before an election. So it's at the very end of the process. It's taken way too long anyway. They need to give this an up or down vote. And they're probably gonna do it soon. They're having public hearings today and I believe tomorrow. So they're at the very tail end of this.

ALISON ST. JOHN: Okay. And then just finally, we wanted to do a quick follow-up on the earthquake we've been hearing about after shocks happening just in the last day or so. How is the region doing? How are repairing coming along? There's quite a lot of money being put into repairing.

BRAD JENNINGS: There is a lot of money being put into repairs. It's interesting you mentioned after shocks. I saw that we posted a quick news item on our IB press on line website, and I didn't even feel the after shocks, I didn't feel the earthquake. I guess if it's anything les a six now, most of us don't even feel it. But it's going well. The money comes a little slowly. A lot of this money is coming from the government and other sources. So we're moving, we're moving slowly. There's an issue of, for example, in El Centro, the library here is -- has between 3 and 3 and a half million dollars in damage. It's an old building. You know, the city has to decide, is it worth fixing that? Do we need to find a new library? So those kinds of things are affecting people, and they probably will for some time.

ALISON ST. JOHN: But what about the businesses that were closed down? Are they back open now and functioning.

BRAD JENNINGS: The ones that are going to survive are back up and functioning. There are some and some buildings that I think we've just lost for good.

ALISON ST. JOHN: And the schools were also heavily affected.

BRAD JENNINGS: Yes, they were, especially in Calexico, but as normal as they can be. Things are pretty much back there.

ALISON ST. JOHN: Okay. Well, Brad, thanks very much for the update.

BRAD JENNINGS: You're welcome you're welcome.

ALISON ST. JOHN: And we'll talk to you again later.

BRAD JENNINGS: Okay thank you.

ALISON ST. JOHN: That's Brad Jennings, editor of the Imperial Valley press. . And stay with us, coming up in the next segment of These Days, we will be speaking about the new tiger cubs in the San Diego zoo safari park.