With a deadline just days away, a top Bush administration official warned Thursday that coastal Southern California will suffer a significant reduction in its water supply next year unless the water-rich farming community there agrees to a deal with arid San Diego County.
According to a Los Angeles Times report today by Tony Perry, Asst. Interior Secretary Bennett Raley said his boss, Interior Secretary Gale Norton, is determined to reduce California's overuse of the Colorado River so that other Western states can get their full entitlement.
"I'm not here to tell you what to do ... But doing nothing is not an option. The secretary is going to enforce the law of the river," Raley told a meeting of the Imperial Irrigation District.
The board of the Imperial Irrigation District is set to discuss next week whether to sign a 75-year water deal with San Diego, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, and the Coachella Valley Water District.
The plan would help cut the state's usage of the river by shifting water now used by farms to urban customers.