Inyo Water Director Bob Harrington has reviewed and commented on the Department of Water and Power’s plans to pump the Owens Valley underground for the next year. In his opening letter, Harrington calls DWP’s plans “more conservative than pumping plans developed during the dry years of the early 90s.” Harrington also notes that well fields throughout the County remain below the required baseline years of the mid 80s. While the Owens Valley underground still suffers from low water levels, Inyo lodged no real objections to DWP’s plan to pump approximately 65,000 acre feet for the year with plans for the first six months.
Harrington went wellfield by wellfield in his letter. He said that as of last year, in the Laws area, “10 out of 18 well field parcels measured by the Water Department were significantly below baseline….” Pumping last year caused water table declines up to nearly 2 feet.
In Bishop, Harrington said pumping will be compliant with the Hillside Decree. He added, “We encourage LADWP to work with other water management entities and water rights holders on Bishop Creek to reach equitable solutions on the Bishop Cone. We also request that stock water uses on the Bishop Cone be supplied fully.”
In Big Pine, last year, water table declines up to 2.40 feet. Monitoring wells are below baseline water levels by as much as 6 feet. Inyo County says the proposed pumping will result in water tables 4 to 7 feet below baseline. Inyo does not object to the pumping rate but wants an update on the Big Pine re-greening project.
In the Taboose-Aberdeen area, last year, there was less than half a foot increase to a decrease of nearly 2 feet in the water table. Water levels remain below baseline up to nearly 8 feet. No objections are raised to the pumping here.
Continuing in Southern Inyo, the Thibaut-Sawmill area saw water table declines last year. Water levels remain below baseline. The pumping rate here Includes reduced pumping at Blackrock Hatchery. Inyo has no objections.
In the Independence – Oak area, there were water table declines last year. Levels remain below baseline. Inyo has no objections but wants an update on the Independence re-greening project.
In the Symmes-Sherherd, water table levels remain below baseline. At two sites, water tables declined more than 6 feet since 2011. Vegetation conditions in two areas have also declined. There are no objections to pumping here. No objections either in the Bairs-Georges area.
In Lone Pine, last year, vegetation cover in the only well field parcel was significantly below baseline. No pumping objections were raised here. These comments were discussed at yesterday’s Technical Group meeting.