Inyo-DWP clash over pumps

groundwater-pumpbp-1This year’s Department of Water and Power Pumping Plan will take 8400 acre feet more than the Inyo Supervisors wanted.  At one point the Board asked DWP to reduce its 91,000 acre foot pumping plan by 8400 acre feet in the Thibaut and Aberdeen wellfields.  DWP said fine but they would add that same amount to pumping in Laws and Independence – two areas damaged considerably by pumping over the years. Inyo Supervisors have decided not to dispute this even though officials said it would do damage.

Some think if the drought continues, DWP will try to do a lot more damage next year with a big pumping plan.  Disputes may lie ahead.

Meanwhile, another dispute is in progress.  DWP officials think they can pump groundwater to mitigate Owens Dry Lake dust without obeying the Inyo-LA Water Agreement. That document excluded any project implemented under the California Health and Safety Code from local regulation. That issue is now in the dispute phase.

Staff members of Inyo and DWP planned to talk about this latest dispute at a Technical Group meeting Friday.  Inyo Water Director Bob Harrington said it was unclear what officials had in mind when they wrote the water agreement section that DWP has raised.  Harrington said Inyo thinks that the Health and Safety code does not deal with LA’s water gathering so any well used for dust mitigation should fall under the water agreement.

This issue came up as officials work on an Owens Dry Lake Master Plan.  Inyo officials get nervous when DWP wants to pump without regulation.  DWP has proposed that they drill groundwater wells on the dry lake for mitigation.  It’s unknown if they will try to wiggle out of regulation on wells placed elsewhere.

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Valkyrie
Valkyrie
10 years ago

It may be that the attitude of LADWP cooperation that existed when the Water Agreement was crafted is no longer possible because of Los Angeles’ population increase and climate-change induced reduction in snow packs. LA is now seeking to secure and capture every drop available in the Owens Valley because… Read more »

jj
jj
10 years ago

How can this author say it is unknown if DWP will try to wiggle out of their agreement? All of their actions say they are already trying and succeeding. Can we possibly create new laws to hold DWP to their commitments?

2rude
2rude
10 years ago
Reply to  jj

No, actually you can’t; or at least Inyo County can’t. One of the saddest features of the Long Tem Water Agreement is that therein Inyo County promises not to seek or support any legislation affecting water rights, etc, insofar as DWP’s activities are concerned. I believe that, in doing so,… Read more »

JJ
JJ
10 years ago
Reply to  2rude

Thanks 2 rude