On Thursday, Nov. 3, board members and staff from the San Diego County Water Authority traveled to the Imperial Valley for a daylong tour of on-farm conservation projects and mitigation projects as they relate to the Quantification Settlement Agreement and an update on Salton Sea restoration efforts. It was a very informational tour, providing the Water Authority board and staff a chance to meet with and learn from the Imperial Valley farming community. The Water Authority would like to take a moment through this blog to thank those who made the tour possible.
First off, we’d like to thank the executive directors of the three Imperial Valley farming groups for the time and effort they put in to helping organize the tour. Linsey Dale of the Farm Bureau, Kay Day Pricola of the Vegetable Growers and Cherie Watte of the Imperial Valley Water were instrumental in the success of the tour.
A special thanks also goes out to Craig Elmore, farmer and owner of Desert Sky Farm, for serving as the lead tour guide and for providing a beautiful venue for lunch on his ranch property. Elmore and fellow farmer, Larry Fleming, owner of Spruce Farms—who also served as a tour guide—shared their years of knowledge with our board and staff on not only conservation matters, but also on all that is involved in growing crops in the Imperial Valley. It was enlightening. Farmer Alex Jack, owner of Jack Bros. Inc., also presented during the tour, providing information on the innovative conservation measures he has taken on his farmland, expressing how farming and conservation can work hand in hand. Farmer and owner of Vail Ranches, Richard Elmore, also presented during the tour, sharing information on Kate’s Lake and how such reservoirs can help manage water use.
Bruce Wilcox, assistant secretary of California Natural Resources in charge of Salton Sea Policy, joined the tour, providing the latest updates on the State’s Salton Sea Management Program with Red Hill Marina as the location for his talk. Diane Cason, vice president for CalEnergy, joined the presentation at Red Hill Marina to speak to the potential for geothermal development at the Salton Sea. Both presentations provided a better understanding of what is happening at the Sea and the potential for development there, and we thank them for their time.
We also thank those members of the farming community and representatives from the Imperial Irrigation District who joined us for lunch at Elmore’s property. The lunch provided an opportunity to interact, get to know each other, ask questions and learn from each other.
Finally, we would like to thank Cesar’s Tacos and Alpha Logistics for their help in making the day successful.
These kinds of tours—including the two tours the Water Authority has held to bring Imperial Valley representatives to San Diego to see the desalination plant and other projects—are critically important to further build the relations between the Water Authority and the Imperial Valley. We are linked together through the QSA, but we are joined by more than that. Our communities, which make up an important part of Southern California, can best be served by working together on such critical matters as protecting water rights and building our economies. We look forward to more trips to the Imperial Valley and to hosting more tours to San Diego.