LADWP Lessees Push for Water

Not enough water to go around? That now seems to be the bottom line with Bishop ranchers who lease from LADWP. As we reported, Daris and Dick Moxley have not received their usual irrigation water which led to the drying up of two large pastures.moxley-cows.jpg

Another DWP rancher, Todd Tatum, said his familys lease has never received enough water. Last year, he says he received 60^ of his quota. He filed a dry finding on his lease which caused DWP to try to adjust water deliveries. Tatum said he knows the water situation is not working out well. He said its complicated and September will likely see even less water.

Above Tatum, the Moxleys and at least two other lessees have suffered water reduction. Daris Moxley had said that only 36 of her 99 acre lease has had water this season.

As for the flow of water from Bishop Creek down to the leases, Bishop Creek Water Master Wayne Stone said that there is plenty of water coming out of McLaren. Stone was aware that Todd Tatum was finally getting the water he needs.

Inyo Water Director Bob Harrington said that one solution would be a new well, but impacts would be inevitable. He called the whole water distribution issue a problem. He said Inyo County wants irrigated lands to be covered and to develop a larger program to monitor irrigated vegetation. In the short term, Harrington said the goal is to get lessees more water.moxley_ditch.jpg He said DWP is working on water flow and ditches in the area.

DWP Manager Gene Coufal said the Department recognizes its responsibility to try to provide 5 acre feet of water to lessees. Coufal said its a tough situation with a lot of population and uses on Bishop Creek. He said DWP is working on ways to provide enough water. As for a new well in the area, he said DWP would deal with that after the current irrigation season.

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