Too much water down the tube?

groundwater-pumpbp-1In 1940, the family of Stan Matlick of Bishop won a court decision called the Hillside Decree that limits groundwater pumping in the Bishop area to the amount used on Los Angeles-owned lands in what’s called the Bishop Cone. No groundwater is to be exported. This year, Mr. Matlick thinks the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has pumped too much water.

Matlick checks the pumps on Bishop Cone and told the Inyo Water Department, Water Commission and Sierra Wave Media that three wells were pumping steadily in the Bishop area in December and January. Matlick said he believes there weren’t enough uses on the Bishop Cone for all that water. He believes some of it went down the aqueduct where it’s not supposed to go. Matlick said he was told DWP needed to pump during winter months to feed Farmer’s Ponds and Buckley Ponds. He said the ditch to Farmers’ Pond was dry, and he didn’t think more water was going to Buckley Ponds. Matlick said in the past little pumping has gone on during the winter.

Water Director Bob Harrington said that his Department checked with DWP officials who indicated they needed the pumped water for “stock water and for Buckley Pond.” In January, Harrington said it appeared there were not enough uses going on to justify the amount DWP was pumping. Harrington said Inyo requested that they turn off some pumps. He said DWP told his Department they would shut off one or more.

DWP Public Information Officer Chris Plakos said as of December 31st, LADWP had “delivered significantly more water to LADWP lands on the Bishop Cone than had been pumped plus the amount flowing from uncapped wells.” He said that since pumping on the Cone was “well within the provisions of the Water Agreement and Hillside Decree, two of the three wells on the Cone that have been operating continue to run.” Plakos said that in a “cooperative response to comments received, the third well was turned off.”

DWP conducts an annual audit of Bishop Cone water use and pumping to comply with the long-held court decree.

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7 Responses to Too much water down the tube?

  1. MJA March 7, 2013 at 8:54 am #

    For the good of All,
    I think all the pumps should be shut down,
    Not just those on the cone. =

  2. waxlips March 6, 2013 at 7:04 am #

    Regarding the county sups, and other county admins not standing up to DWP or protecting what little control we have over our water supply. I wonder how many of them have ties with DWP. We all know to well how DWP operates.

  3. Philip Anaya March 5, 2013 at 11:42 am #

    Information regarding the Bishop Cone Audit 2010-2011 is available at
    Unfortunately I could not find the 2011-2012 report. I also could not find a copy of the 1940 Hillside Decree .
    In the Audit document the amount of Extraction that is allowed (Both pumping and free flow) is to be no more than the water usage on DWP lands in the mapped cone area. The usage has increased from 2009-10 of 22,635.73 acre feet to 25,764.90 acre feet in 2010-11 an increase of 3,129.17 acre ft. again no data from this past 2011-12 audit.
    If the Hillside Decree does not establish a limit to the usage then a never ending increased export of many acre feet is then theorectically possible . If the Hillside Decree restricts water export from the Bishop Cone then what is going on with all the free flow extractions from the wells adjacent to the Owens River.Where is that resource headed? I’d sure like to know more about all this.
    With respect to the Tech group meeting March 1st. First off, the ranchers and the cows need the water provided by the DWP. If DWP creates a problem through planned maintenance on McNally Canal ,which they did, they should include in that plan water for the stock . If a solar powered stock water station provided by the DWP does not pan out for the cows, the fall back plan should not be the turn on of a off designated well especially one that has been designated off for recovery of the overpumped and environmentally damaged Laws 3 well field. Additionally if a designated Off well is turned On for a limited time and usage ,then a corresponding On designated well should be turned Off for the corresponding period. The DWP hates losing water about the same as Mother Nature. There needs to be a balanced approach . Furthur, combined with the warmer weather there has been an early season mosquito hatch from the dewatered McNally Canal that is also linked to the poorly planned work on McNally. Residents and visitors in Laws don’t need any extra kind of collateral effect from the DWP activities there. The dust is quite enough. I hope that Great Basin APCD might have an interest here.

  4. Jeremiah's stance March 5, 2013 at 11:37 am #

    I am sick of these vulture capitalist’s with their narrow minded interest when it comes to Owens valley water! With the drought’s on the rise and no real change or ideas to make people change the way they use this Vital resource, The valley will keep getting the short end of the stick if our Board Of Supervisors don’t wake up and make DWP look for alternatives.
    What really grinds my gears is we have this problem of using water wastefully and our leaders of the county are left with trying to find any tax revenue they can rejuvenate since there is no other way to pay for vital services we need here in the valley, we are left with getting handouts form LA our any other vulture capitalists that benefits from the precious resources. (thanks to the land lock from the beloved LADWP that’s the only option we have)
    I ask that the County leaders to really set the stage and continue to fight for the Valley’s best interest.
    “Probably in all Western history there has not been a more flagrant example of one part of the country, politically and financially powerful, destroying a weaker section. And doing it with no regard to obligations, moral or financial” (Reno Journal 3/9/1928 by Cornelius vanderbilt jr.

  5. Daris March 5, 2013 at 11:07 am #

    I am not sure that the March 1st meeting was even a legal meeting. According to the LA/Inyo Co MOU page 5 it provides that the Technical Group SHALL be comprised of FIVE representatives selected by the County and FIVE representatives selecter by DWP. There was only ONE representative from the County and only TWO representatives from DWP.

  6. Daris March 5, 2013 at 9:41 am #

    At the March 1st L.A./Inyo Technical meeting it was agreed to turn on Laws well # 377 to supply stockwater in the amount of 20 acre feet of water. We were told that the solar pump/well/water supply was not furnishing enough stock water. DWP did not know what was wrong with the system so they wanted to turn on a off status well #377 to pump stock water.

  7. Alice Chan March 5, 2013 at 9:37 am #

    Thank you for being so alert, Stan!


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