Inyo-LA Standing Committee talks water

aqueductindyThis time when Los Angeles comes to Inyo County for a meeting, citizens have real, material complaints. A school farm project has dragged on, and many mitigation measures have never happened. Plus, Inyo has a Drought Proclamation that points out dry wells in Bishop. Ranchers have also suffered a loss of water by DWP. The Standing Committee meeting was scheduled to start at 1pm today at the Supervisors’ Board Room in Independence. The County also arranged for Suddenlink Cable to televise the meeting, possibly in audio only, on Cable Channel 12.

The agenda of this meeting starts with an update on runoff and operations followed by a report on Owens Lake-area groundwater development. Item three is a report on the status of Green Book revisions. The Green Book is a document that spells out management of Department of Water and Power pumps to avoid environmental damage. Both Inyo and DWP have admitted this management plan has failed. For close to seven years, both sides have talked about a new plan that works. DWP officials have resisted management based on the depth to groundwater. So, while an agreement was signed 17 years ago for groundwater management, it’s still not done and drags on.

The group may take action on a mitigation measure that would give water to a Lone Pine School farm project. That plan has been hanging fire for sixteen years. Next on the agenda is a report on the status of the Technical Group evaluation of mitigation project water use and water supply. The group will consider an update on the disputed Blackrock 94 parcel, and finally the Standing Committee will talk about Inyo County’s proclamation of a Local Drought Emergency.


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Philip Anaya
Philip Anaya
7 years ago

The Leadership of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s Water Operations and Management came to Independence this past Friday. James McDaniel, Marty Adams and Jim Yannotta along with two LADWP Water Commissioners, Mr. Fleming and Ms. Noonan and LA City Council Member Tom LaBonge were unable initially to resolve issues with Inyo County regarding the FAA Lone Pine 30 AF water needs for this years planting season.

The DWP’s repeated insistence that the allocation of the water be linked to a saving of water at the Independence Tree Lot Mitigation Area nearly sank the hopes and dreams of the FFA after 12 years of promises and process between DWP and Inyo County. Tom Noland however saved the day and the dreams by offering water and acreage from his lease and the DWP committed to moving the current operation of the FFA farm across the road and then next year when the delayed CEQA process is completed moving everything back to their site . Everything includes, fencing, water stations , shade structures , irrigation everything from one side of the road to the other and then back again. Wow! It’s suppose to start immediately and this robust confusing contentious discussion is forever imprinted on everyone’s minds. Inyo County stood fast with getting the FAA program going and not giving in to quid pro quo demands of the DWP idea to link and change the operation of the Independence Tree Lot. Many solutions were offered to DWP’s reluctance to permanently establish the FFA Farm including a great idea to temporarily exchange and amend Mr.Noland’s and the Farm’s leases but DWP couldn’t or wouldn’t agree. In the end Brenda Lacey accepted Mr. Noland’s wonderful offer and DWP’s OK to move everything back and forth . As the participants including the three seniors from the FAA program exited the room the words were heard , “Have a nice Day “. Indeed!

Linda Arcularis pointed out about the expense of 30 AF @ $600.00 an AF , that expense equals $18,000.00. Left me thinking that same amount is in the ballpark for the cost of a new well in West Bishop. As a rate payer of the DWP I wonder how much was spent in the 12 years of this never ending saga? I wonder how much the helicopter cost to and from LA, The cost of everyone’s salary? Couldn’t this have all been resolved with a couple of meetings between Operations personnel ten years ago. Wasn’t all of this already approved and washed over and over at every level? When will we ever see professional sustainable management and practices that focuses in on solutions, instead of the skills displayed of double talk, double dealing ,delay and desiccation of this Owens Valley?

The Eastern Sierra, it’s people and it’s Representatives are ready for solutions and that’s what is needed especially this year.