Bishop Paiute Tribe Pumping Water at Reduced Capacity | Pump Failure & High-demand

Well, it’s not quite THIS bad, but there are water restrictions on the Bishop Tribe Reservation due to water pumping problems and high-use.

Press Release from Bishop Paiute Tribe Pumping Water at Reduced Capacity. Pump Failures Prompt Mandatory Restrictions

July 28th, 2020 – Inyo County – The Bishop Paiute Tribe is experiencing low water pressure reservation wide due to the high demand of water usage and minimal storage and pumping capacity.

The Bishop Paiute Reservation has six drinking water wells with two wells each located at PaMe Lane, Tibec Lane, and Siebu Lane. Currently three out of six wells are inoperable. With the temperatures rising, and more community members staying home due to the COVID-19 pandemic the water usage has gone up significantly.

The Public Works Department is working hard to secure funding and contracts to make the needed repairs and replacements for inoperable pumps and motors of the three wells. It is of highest priority to ensure our community has continuous safe drinking water.

The following restrictions apply to all residential, commercial, non-profit and Tribal entities. No use of the domestic water for any water users is allowed on Mondays. Even numbered addresses may water only on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from 5:00am-10:00am and 5:00pm-10:00pm . Odd numbered addresses only water on Wednesday Friday and Sunday from 5:00am-10:00am and 5:00pm-10:00pm.

These restrictions will be strictly enforced until further notice. The only exception to consider under these regulations is you may water any gardens and fruit trees as needed as long as it is not excessive. We encourage those that have access to irrigation or creeks to utilize those resources. If you have any questions or would like to report any violators, please do not hesitate to contact the Public Works office at 760-873-6638. We thank you for your cooperation in joining the team of conservation.

Updates will be available to the public as they occur on KBPT-LP 96.1fm at the top of the hour for breaking information and at 8am, 11am, 6pm and 11pm for cumulative information.

The Bishop Paiute Tribe is a federally recognized Indian tribe located on its 879-acre Bishop Paiute Reservation in Inyo County, California. The Reservation was formed under Congressional Act 5299, P.L. No. 43 of April 20, 1937. The Tribe is committed to the well-being of its people. For more information please contact the Bishop Paiute Tribe at (760) 873-3584.

12 Responses to Bishop Paiute Tribe Pumping Water at Reduced Capacity | Pump Failure & High-demand

  1. BobK August 2, 2020 at 1:43 pm #

    You must not have been on Main st. or driven by the gas stations on N sierra hi way in the last month.

    • Charles James August 2, 2020 at 3:40 pm #

      You must not have noticed that the price of gas has been down for months. It has been true across the country and numerous articles have been written about it. It was largely because of low demand as a result of the pandemic. With summer and many visitors now in the area, yes there has been an increase in volume of traffic; it’s summer after all. Another factor that cannot be ignored is that the profit margins for gas stations on each gallon of gas sold, after paying for operating costs (employees, maintenance, credit card fees, etc.,) is quite low, somewhere between 3%-20% depending on local competition. No one in their right mind would suggest that we don’t have plenty of gas stations in Bishop. The new tribal gas and mini-market that you referenced is still under construction, so there is no revenue coming from it.

      The casino was closed On March 17 to protect its employees and the community, and only reopened on June 8th to pandemic restrictions on wearing face coverings and social distancing, which by its very nature reduced numbers of casino-goers allowed inside. It was essentially out-of-business for 12 weeks (83 days).

      None of this is to say the Tribe cannot pay for its own repairs or replacement of the water pumps, nor to our knowledge have they said as much, but as with any local business, they’ve taken a substantial hit financially due to the pandemic. It stands to reason that they will look for resources to mitigate as much of the cost as possible, as would any business or government entity, especially ones that are cash-strapped. Maybe that will be asking LADWP for assistance with their expertise or perhaps to assist with replacement of parts, etc… or maybe not. Maybe LADWP might reach out to the tribe on its own; maybe not. LADWP has done so in the past.

      There’s a lot more to this story, but whatever happens, it’s in the interest of the Tribal members living on the reservation, our local community, and the local economy to see the situation resolved. The Tribe looks after its tribal members health and welfare, and provides much-needed jobs. It makes what are called state compact revenue payments on its casino operations (well, when it’s open). The idea that Indian tribes or Native-Americans do not pay taxes is false, if not disingenuous. But it is also very complicated, which is explained by the state Legislative Analyst Office. All of us should be pulling for the Tribe’s success and not assume that we know more about their finances than we actually do.

  2. BobK August 2, 2020 at 1:40 pm #

    How long have the pumps been out of service?

  3. BobK August 1, 2020 at 3:26 pm #

    You would think that with a casino, gas station and an upcoming gas station/. mini mart, that they could afford the repairs themselves.

    • Charles James August 2, 2020 at 9:18 am #

      The casino has been closed for several months, with the resultant loss of revenue along with other local businesses shut down because of the pandemic. There’s no reason to believe that the Bishop Tribe is awash in money. Even gas stations have seen a loss of business as the result of the pandemic because people have been driving far less.

      • Dee August 2, 2020 at 1:17 pm #

        Actually the casino was open recently, it might still be open.

  4. Good bye July 31, 2020 at 3:03 pm #

    So they’re ok when you want to sign them up to help someone but public enemy number one when you don’t need them? Hmmm

    • Philip Anaya August 3, 2020 at 6:20 am #

      With the LADWP having expertise and logistical supply and with having such a huge footprint and effect in the Eastern Sierra, if they could offer assistance in this case, only the Tribes could make the decision to work with them. The LADWP has the ability to do many good things for the Eastern Sierra and the environment. Many here including myself, want them to do the right thing each and every time and with every decision they make.

  5. Philip Anaya July 31, 2020 at 6:11 am #

    With three out of 6 wells inoperable it would seem that could be a much worse problem for folks if another pump went down. If acceptable to the Tribe it would be wonderful to hear of LADWP stepping up to assist the Tribe to immediately repair or replace the inoperable pumps . They certainly know a lot about pumps and no doubt have replacements and parts immediately available. Being a good neighbor is what many in the Eastern Sierra are all about.

  6. John Calhoun July 29, 2020 at 11:39 pm #

    So now Inyo County is complicit with the already ongoing subjugation and oppression of the indigenous people of North America? Another example of the continued effects of colonization and genocide

    • Charles James July 30, 2020 at 1:28 am #

      Other than the tribe being located in Inyo County, the county has nothing at all to do with the tribe’s infrastructure problems. They’re certainly not “complicit” in any way. The press release came directly from the tribe, so if you want clarification on this issue, you might consider contacting them. The phone number is in the press release.

      The infrastructure needing repair and replacement (water pumps and motors) belongs to, and is the responsibility of, the Tribe which owns it. You misread/misunderstood the reference to “Inyo County” in the press release, which was listed only to give the reader the location of the Bishop Paiute Tribe…and no other reason.


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