You may have seen an ad circulating on social media and T.V. paid for by the Imperial Irrigation District, or IID. The ad takes a swipe at Assemblyman Chad Mayes, (R) Yucca Valley.
“Assemblyman Chad Mayes from the Yucca Valley wants to break up the IID, your low-cost power provider,” the ad says.
Mayes who represents parts of the Coachella Valley says this ad is false, “What I‘ve learned in my years of public service is that when you’re doing the right thing and you’re fighting the status quo you ruffle some folks from time to time.”
In this case the right thing, he says is AB 854, legislation he introduced that would require IID to go from 5 Imperial Valley board members to 11 with 6 from the Coachella Valley.
“When the folks in Coachella Valley that are within that IID power territory, their interests are not being served on that board, that’s what we have to fix,” says Mayes.
Emmanuel Martinez from IID says this legislation would violate the federal agreement they made with the Coachella Valley Water District in 1934, that gives CVWD access to IID’s Colorado River senior water rights in exchange for rights to sell power, “And that’s how IID serves the Coachella Valley and pays the Coachella Valley Water District a fee which today has equated to $45 million.”
Martinez says each city they serve each gets two members to represent them as part of a committee and having members on their board and CVWD‘s would be unfair, “It would be double representation given that people would be voting for two separate agencies that have similar and competing interests to the same source of water.”
Mayes says he respects the water rights and low power rates and that won’t change, “If we can strike a balance between making sure that we’ve got voting rights for the people in the Coachella Valley and also making sure that we secure the water rights of the people of the Imperial County, that’s our goal.”
Martinez says IID will not back out from their agreement or fight, “This is a non-negotiable point for the Imperial Irrigation District.”
Friday NBC Palm Springs will have part two of this important issue with a local solar company caught in the middle of this battle.