CALEXICO, Calif. - The City of Calexico in partnership with the IID and Imperial County gathered to sign a memorandum of understanding today.
The agreement is in regards to The New River Improvement Project and how it will improve the water quality.
“The New River is a part of our past, present, and foreseeable future. The question then becomes, what do we do to insure our community and environment are not harmed by it,” asked Eric J. Ortega, IID Division 4 Director.
As local leaders gathered, many of them praised the hard work of California State Senator Ben Hueso and State Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia.
“If anyone of us, or anyone of you walked into the State Capitol and knocked on that door, that door would swing open and you would be welcomed in, they have an interest in Imperial County,” said Micael W. Kelley, Board Chairman, County ofImperiall.
Hueso and Garcia were praised for their efforts in putting Imperial Valley on the map and authoring assembly bill 965 requiring better funding from state officials.
“The MOU that we are signing today is committing each of the local agencies to long term financial commitment for the new river project,” added Ortega.
“The people of Calexico have waited decades, decades. Not years, but decades for maybe this historic day to come here today,” said John R. Renison, County of Imperial Supervisor, District 1.
Leaders also shared personal stories of growing up by the New River and why this agreement means so much to them.
“A lot of us around here think that the New River has of course and believe without myself being qualified that it does cause a lot of cancer, so just want to tell you guys it’s amazing to be here today and to be signing this with you because I am a 15 year cancer survivor this year,” said Maritza Hurtado, Mayor of the city of Calexico.
“We’re all born and raised here, we know that it’s brown, we know that it foams up, we know that it has carcinogens, herbicides, insecticides, fertilizer, it’s nasty and it goes into the Salton Sea. It takes a community to get together, to work together to affect a dynamic outcome,” explained Kelley.