Coachella Valley - Controversial Water Vote


Last updated 7/14/2016 at 8:55am

A controversial 3-2 vote on Tues. July 12 saw the Coachella Valley Water District’s board approve new guidelines that could allow for water from the Colorado River to be supplied to a larger acreage than previously allowed. in a larger zone than in the past.

The shift in policy could potentially open up new areas of the eastern Coachella Valley to agriculture, expanding existing farmland by approximately 10%. An area that covers thousands of acres.

Although some farmers and board members voiced concerns that the approach might jeopardize the valley’s water rights if other districts object, new farms would further boost the agricultural economy whilst also bringing competition for established farms.

Regardless of whether or not a property has access to wells or pumping groundwater, under the new guidelines, property owners in the surrounding areas will be able to apply for water from the Colorado River

“We obtained additional water to address the overdraft in the valley, and it should be used for that purpose,” John Powell, Jr., the board's president, who opposed the change and proposed a list of revisions which the board voted down.

“I think it’s a very dangerous position to take," Powell said, "because if we can do that and ignore the agreement, then certainly somebody else who’s also a party to the agreement could do that also.”


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