Irrigators should be treated equally
We would like to start out by saying that we fully support a water compact agreement — just not this one. We need a complete, well-written and fair one. If this compact goes through, we are still not guaranteed the efficiency cost share improvement monies.
Paul Wadsworth and Susan Lake both commented that irrigators will be able to buy more than 2 acre feet of water. This is false, according to the way this compact is written. According to the compact, 1.4 acre feet is the max you can receive before an efficiency improvement study is completed and approved. You will need to request the study. Once the study has been completed and improvements are suggested, you may or may not qualify for the cost-share funding for those improvements. This will be at the project manager’s discretion and will depend on the availability of funding. Once this is completed, according to the compact, you can apply for a total of 2 acre feet, not to exceed the set quota. For example, if the quota is set at .75 acre feet, you would not get the 1.4 or the 2 acre feet, you would get the set quota. There will no longer be any non-quota or extra-duty water. What is delivered will all go toward your quota. This includes stock water.
Susan Lake stated that it would cost them $600 per acre, or $300,000 if it were to go to litigation. So let’s assume they own about 500 acres. It is much more cost-effective for those larger-acre irrigators to absorb the cost of all of those efficiency improvements that will need to be made if you need more water. For example, if they put a $15,000 wheel line in and spread that cost over 500 acres, it would be about $30 per acre. A pivot at $75,000 would be about $150 per acre. For a smaller irrigator, say 80 acres, that needed the same improvements, a $15,000 wheel line would cost about $187.50 per acre, and a $75,000 pivot would be $937.50/acre. The larger irrigators will typically be able to make more of these improvements, thus qualifying for more of the cost-share funding.
When Paul Wadsworth was questioned by an irrigator about the compact, he asked the irrigator how much land he was irrigating. That is a question no FJBC, CME or project manager should ask. All irrigators, regardless of their acreage, should be treated as equals.
Wade and Traci Shepard