Bishop Creek water users: ‘Work, suffer together’

By Deb Murphy

Mark Lacey asked that area ranchers and West Bishop residents “work together and suffer together.” Steve Stevens anticipated that request and is working toward a system that would equitably distribute the reduced flows out of the Bishop Creek drainage through the irrigation season.


At issue is a 23-percent reduction in irrigation allocations to ranchers on Los Angeles Department of Water and Power leases in the drainage. With an anticipated 50 percent of normal run-off this year, there was no choice. Lacey’s point was that Bishop Creek Water Association members should also feel some of that pain.

In a phone interview Friday, association president Stevens said his board, the Bishop Paiute Tribe, Southern California Edison and LADWP are working out a plan that will spread both the water and the pain evenly among the end users. The plan is as simple as anything else in this drought-impacted conundrum. “We’ll find out what ranchers are getting irrigation water on what days and rotate water through the BCWA members accordingly,” he said.

Ranchers need to build up a head of water before spreading it on the fields. Lacey pointed out Tuesday, that if the water has been reduced to a trickle after flowing through the residential areas, there isn’t enough for irrigation purposes. The BCWA members have been on a rotation system to mete out the water evenly. This rotation plan will be synced with the rancher’s irrigation schedule so no residential users will be between the ranchers’ fields and the source point during irrigation days.

“The ranchers are the backbone of this community,” Stevens said. “We need to do what’s right.” Stevens is working to convince association members to put conservation plans in place and by-pass ponds.


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10 Responses to Bishop Creek water users: ‘Work, suffer together’

  1. Steve Hinkley March 25, 2015 at 1:44 pm #

    Even though i do not live in Bishop, but I hope something can be worked out between the people of bishop and LADWP so that everybody gets their water. I come up there to enjoy your area and I am a water lover and i want to see streams lots of streams flowing with lots of water. Let us prey that next year will be better.

  2. Daris March 25, 2015 at 7:20 am #

    The answer according to DWP is to drill more wells. What part of dry domestic wells don’t they understand? The aquifer is going down. No water on top means no water to recharge the aquifer.
    DWP wants to drill a new well near the gun club in Bishop, one near Schober and Barlow, and one above Big Pine (Bell Canyon), and a replacement (which means new and improved) in Laws.
    People you need to get involved contact your Supervisors, Inyo Co. Water Department, City Council (yes it will eventually be a problem for the town), Chamber of Commerce (lack of water affects tourisum), Tribal Councilmen (it has already caused problems on reservation land), and any other group that depends on water (in creeks or wells).
    Start to attend any meeting where water is mentioned and make your voice heard.

  3. biggame March 25, 2015 at 6:55 am #

    Don’t kid yourself, the ranchers are not suffering, not even the slightest bit. They get subsidized payments for drought relief!!!!!!!!! Not to mention that the drought has caused the price of beef to nearly double!!!!!!

  4. enoughalready March 25, 2015 at 6:04 am #

    “The ranchers are the backbone of this community,” – How so? Please explain.

  5. Joe March 25, 2015 at 5:32 am #

    I’ll be letting the water enter my pond as much as possible. From there it can help recharge the groundwater table in the Bishop cone instead of going to the aquaduct. Ranchers are business people and should plan on droughts and other events that could impact their wallet.

  6. biggame March 24, 2015 at 3:17 pm #

    hahaha no residential users on irrigation days. In other words the ranchers and LADWP are working together and the residents will suffer.

  7. Sierra dog March 24, 2015 at 9:45 am #

    19 dead wells in west bishop last year, 4 dead wells (so far) in McLaren this year. Sounds like residential users are suffering also.

  8. Trouble March 24, 2015 at 6:23 am #

    We have lots of water, problem is DWP knows this!

  9. Low-Inyo March 23, 2015 at 8:25 pm #

    “Work together and suffer together”……while the golf courses remain green and the swimming pools remain full in Sou Cal……

  10. NO H20 March 23, 2015 at 7:37 pm #

    “work together and suffer together.” BISHOP
    While they continue TO build new homes that require new water meters and lush lawns in So Cal.



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