Inyo County argues DWP’s operations plan

By Deb Murphy

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power came out with its 2018-19 operations plan late last month. Inyo County came back April 30 with its own recommendation, below the low end of LADWP’s proposed range.

LADWP’s range started at 77,990 acre-feet, topping out at 96,230. The high number, according to Inyo’s response, is the highest volume since the “environmentally damaging amounts” in the late 1980s. Based on well fields that remained below the mid-1980s baseline even after last year’s epic run-off, Inyo’s preference was 74,450 acre-feet.

The County presented its arguments at last week’s Technical Group meeting. The crux of that argument: the lower number “allows the multiple goals of the Long Term Water Agreement to be met with a more responsible and sustainable approach.”

The County recommended 6,300 a-f from Laws, a drop from LADWP’s minimum 9,400 a-f. The water table had improved but the vegetation had not according to Water Department staffer Keith Rainville.

Paul Huerte from Big Pine Paiute Tribe of the Owens Valley objected to the 20,550 a-f minimum for the Big Pine well fields, noting the water was used at the fish hatchery but flowed on to the Aqueduct.

The County wants to hold pumping at Independence-Oak to 5,990, almost half of LADWP’s minimum. The water table remains from 2- to 6-feet below baseline. The same ratio of the County’s recommendation to the department’s minimum was in place at Bairs George to keep Well 812T within a foot of baseline.

The Standing Committee will weigh the recommendations at its May 31 meeting.

Update on Five Bridges and Well 385

In the face of 18 motions corresponding to Inyo County’s questions on Well 385 and the Five Bridges mitigation, last week’s Technical Group lumped those questions into one motion. That motion didn’t resolve any of the issues; it simply passed the questions onto the Standing Committee meeting.

Both the Tech Group and Standing Committee require unanimous agreement to pass any motion. The Standing Committee meets in Los Angeles but will be broadcast at the department’s Mandich Street office.

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Philip Anaya
Philip Anaya
4 years ago

Here is a link to additional information from DWR regarding the 2018 Reprioritization. https://www.water.ca.gov/-/media/DWR-Website/Web-Pages/Programs/Groundwater-Management/Basin-Prioritization/Files/2018-SGMA-Basin-Prioritization-Process-and-Results-Document.pdf?la=en&hash=ECF36B2D7A806112FDF1BB0B622691982B69520D This 50 page plus document contains the info in appendix 3 and 4, that the non-adjudicated portion of the Owens Basin extracts 24,228 AF annually . We know that the Adjudicated portion extracts lets say a… Read more »

Philip Anaya
Philip Anaya
4 years ago

The DWR today released it’s Draft 2018 Basin Reprioritization plan: https://www.water.ca.gov/Programs/Groundwater-Management/Basin-Prioritization The Owens Basin has been bumped up from a Medium Priority Basin to a High Priority Basin. Speculation of why DWR has modified the Owens Basin just might be a realization at DWR of importance of a Basin supplying… Read more »

Philip Anaya
Philip Anaya
4 years ago

Good progress is being made at the Owens Valley Groundwater Authority with respect to the development of the Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP). Along with the advancing the process of becoming the single Groundwater Sustainability Agency for the non adjudicated portion of the Basin, the work in developing the GSP has… Read more »