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Shotgun Wedding :. The Imperial Irrigation District-Metropolitan Water District Water Conservation Agreement. Metropolitan Water District - MWD. Wholesale water agency Established in 1928 Distributes water to 27 member agencies All water comes from Colorado River and State Water project.

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shotgun wedding

Shotgun Wedding:

The Imperial Irrigation District-Metropolitan Water District Water Conservation Agreement

metropolitan water district mwd
Metropolitan Water District - MWD
  • Wholesale water agency
  • Established in 1928
  • Distributes water to 27 member agencies
  • All water comes from Colorado River and State Water project
palo verde irrigation district pvid
Palo Verde Irrigation District - PVID
  • Began operations in 1925
  • Half of the acreage produces Alfalfa, then Cotton
  • Alfalfa shipped west to feed livestock
imperial irrigation district iid
Imperial Irrigation District - IID
  • Organized in 1911
  • Service territory – 1 million acres
  • Serves Water and Energy
  • 6th largest electric utility in CA
  • Power dept has twice the assets and generates 4times the income compared to water
coachella valley water district cvwd
Coachella Valley Water District - CVWD
  • Formed in 1918
  • Total service area 638,000 Acres
  • Only 3% of acreage grows Alfalfa
  • 60% produce fruit
  • 31% vegetables
water rights
Water Rights
  • 1931 Seven party agreement governs the use of Colorado water
  • California is guaranteed 4.4 maf/year of Colorado River water
4 agricultural agencies share the first three entitlements of ca s portion
4 Agricultural agencies share the first three entitlements of CA’s Portion
  • PVID- Palo Verde Irrigation District
  • IID- Imperial Irrigation District
  • CVWD- Coachella Valley Water District
  • Yuma Project of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
1 pvid 1order of entitlement
#1 PVID #1Order of entitlement
  • Thomas Blythe’s 1877 broad request for appropriate water
  • Use as much water as needed to irrigate 104,500 acres
  • PVID’s right is unquantified
  • First priority
2 yuma project reservation
#2 Yuma Project Reservation
  • Entitled to such water as required for beneficial use on a maximum of 25,000 acres
  • Average consumption of 70,000 af/year
  • 1989- consumed 92,000 af/year
3 rd priority is shared by iid cvwd pvid
3rd priority is shared by IID, CVWD, PVID
  • IID consumes 2.8 maf/year
  • CVWD – 350,000 af/year
  • PVID doesn’t use river water
  • 1934 Agreement of Compromise= IID gets first priority to water within the All-American Canal
  • A max of 3.85 maf for first three priorities
water rights cont
4th and 5th priorities held by MWD

Total 1.212 maf/year

6th priority shared by IID, CVWD and PVID

For use on Mesa Lands

0.3 maf/year

A 7th priority Agricultural use in Colorado River Basin

Water Rights Cont.
the iid mwd negotiations

The IID – MWD Negotiations

Water conservation pressure on IID coupled with MWD’s inability to secure rights from N. CA

the first attempt at a conservation transfer agreement
The First attempt at a Conservation/Transfer agreement
  • 1985 – After 18 months of negotiations
  • 40 year program
  • MWD to pay $100/af for ten years
  • IID to make 40 year commitment to transfer 100,000 af/year
  • Rejected by 3-2 vote by IID board of directors
1988 2 events continued negotiations
SWRCB’s Order 88-20

Required IID to submit specific plans to conserve 100,000 af/year by 1/1/04

Penalty for non-compliance=intervention in IID management by SWRCB

In 1988 a reshuffling of the board of directors

Board now had enough votes to pass the water transfer agreement

1988- 2 events continued negotiations
second agreement reactions and revisions
Second agreement,Reactions, and Revisions
  • Implementing 16 conservation measures to conserve 100,000 af/year
  • MWD reimburse IID for Capital expenditures estimated at $98 Million
  • Operating Expenses
  • 5 annual Payments of $4.6 Million – Indirect Costs
  • 6th year- MWD could collect Water conserved
  • IID still in control
national acclaim as well as local opposition
1989 Water Conservation Award

1990 National water award

Clair A. Hill Agency award

IID-MWD agreement example of successful water market transaction

CVWD had two concerns

#1 As third priority, they were next in line to receive water conserved

#2 The agreement had the potential to reduce CVWD’s right to Colorado water

1989 CVWD filed lawsuit

National Acclaim as well as Local Opposition
subsequent agreements
#1 Approval Agreement

Rather than transferring the conserved water that is priority 3, IID is not using all of its 3rd priority water and leaving it in river

CVWD and PVID agree not to use it unless a dry year.

MWD may then use water still remaining a 4th and 5th priority

The building of a 340 af reservoir and pumping station

Lining of a two mile section of canal with a savings of 6,110 af/year

IID to repay those expenditures instead of MWD for allowing the agreement to give water to CVWD on dry years- Concession

Subsequent Agreements
effects of the agreement
Effects of the Agreement
  • Local Effects
  • Reduced flooding to land
  • Ground water lowered
  • IID $100 Million infrastructure upgrade
  • Covered canals
  • IID kept its right to manage itself
  • Non Local effects- San Diego
report card how well did the agreements mitigate water transfer risks
Report Card: How well did the Agreements mitigate water transfer risks?


Although the IID-MWD agreement is hailed as an example of a water market transaction…with substantial risks to both sides…Ultimately no water rights transfer occurred. One senior appropriator is simply reducing its water use of the Colorado River and a subsequent appropriator’s use in increasing.