Greenville, California’s Indian Valley Community Services District (IVCSD) has proposed selling and transferring 1,000 acre-feet of water from our reservoir to your Montecito Water District, a plan that I support. Many Indian Valley residents are very concerned about and oppose this sale and onetime water transfer, especially ranchers and farmers. I write to explain our situation in Indian Valley and to ask for your help addressing my neighbors’ fears and concerns: Help me help you receive this water transfer.

I believed it is our moral obligation to not hoard our precious water resources in times of need and to reasonably share these resources with California citizens in desperate need of water. I hope the citizens of Montecito might respond by helping Indian Valley improve the quality of its residents’ lives in this very impoverished region. IVCSD would receive a substantial sum in this water sale, but this money will be spent in a heartbeat to pay for the district’s immediate needs. Our lives will not be significantly improved.

Indian Valley is truly god’s country. The air and water are clean, the pace of life is slow, and we know our neighbors. But the price we pay for this natural beauty is to live in a wrecked economy: We are barely able to keep our schools going, public infrastructures are aging, and good job opportunities for our children are almost nonexistent. We need to keep our economy afloat as desperately as you need water.

A majority of Indian Valley residents may favor this water transfer, but that’s no guarantee the deal will go through. People around here are not likely to “run roughshod” over their neighbors simply to raise cash for the IVCSD. A thorough discussion, debate, investigation is needed, and ultimately the sale must be framed in a win-win-win scenario to overcome the labyrinth of local fears and regulatory/legal obstacles. While confident and motivated people can see the deal through, we will not be a party to any “power play” regarding the sale of our local water.

My question to you is: What are the citizens and officials of the Montecito Water District willing to do to help address these fears and assure the citizens of Indian Valley that this will really be a win-win–win scenario? And in the big picture, how can our two communities, hundreds of miles apart, form a bond that will positively address the fundamental needs of both communities? It is that potential connection between us that must be nurtured and cultivated if we are to succeed as we both desire.


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