Slim Water Supplies Leave Questions About Eastern Sierra Water

A few years back, Inyo and LA water staff admitted the water agreement had no effective way to control groundwater pumps. Studies began, and now will continue up to five more years even as the squeeze on water supplies intensifies. Some now wonder if DWP will try to export more Eastern Sierra water.

At a meeting of the Inyo-LA Technical Group Monday, officials revealed that their work to revise groundwater management methods has “progressed slowly.” An interim management plan will expire next spring, leaving groundwater management a big question mark.

Eastern Sierra water may become more vulnerable as water supplies shrink statewide. Bob Pendergast of DWP explained to those at the meeting that the new water year finds Eastern Sierra run-off at 71% of normal. That’s lower than last year. Pendergast said that the Technical Group must evaluate water supply conditions, and the Standing Committee can take action.

Los Angeles uses 612,000 acre feet of water every year and gets 25% of that from Inyo-Mono. 65% comes from the Metropolitan Water District or State Water Project which will cut deliveries by 80% this year.

DWP reports that Los Angeles has tough conservation methods in place. Asked if DWP plans to export more water from the Eastern Sierra or take away water used here, officials said it’s up to the Standing Committee to implement conservation or cutback ranch water.

The Standing Committee meets next week.


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