New State Water Law Manageable in Mammoth, Troubling to Some in Sacramento

In the Eastern Sierra, Inyo County’s Water Department waits for more information on the new water laws passed by the legislature. Mammoth Community Water District management feels confident that new mandates are already covered. Meanwhile, in Sacramento, at least one of our legislators calls the water law “a deal made in secret with major flaws.”state_capitol_1-12-09

First, the good news. Mammoth Water District Manager Greg Norby said that he understands the new law will require groundwater monitoring on the local level. “We’re in good shape,” said Norby, who explained that Mammoth has monitored groundwater levels since the early 90s. Mammoth uses 20 monitoring wells year-round and issues an annual report on the conditions of the underground.

Norby assures that Mammoth will continue with that practice and so will suffer no negative impacts as the result of the new bill.

Mammoth may have a lock on that bliss. According to Mono County’s State Senator Dave Cox, the water legislation was hammered out “behind closed doors with little public review. It contains major flaws,” said Cox, “including hundreds of millions of dollars of pork projects.”

Senator Cox says some areas will get out from under the earlier mandated 20% conservation of water. “Most Californians will have to reduce their water usage by 20% except those living in Los Angeles, Santa Ana, Monterey, Long Beach and San Francisco who are only required to roll back 5%.”

Senator Cox also said the new law creates new, expensive bureaucracies and places an $11 billion bond before the voters next November. Cox says 10% of the state’s income will pay for debt repayment on the bond. Gnarly debate lies ahead.

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