Well driller comments on West Bishop

wellrigAs we have reported, the groundwater table has dropped below a half dozen or so homeowners’ wells in West Bishop and one community well. With what appears to be ongoing drought, concerns have heightened. Some wonder if the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has pumped too much or if management of Bishop Creek drainage waters led to a lower West Bishop groundwater. One well driller, who is currently at work on new wells in West Bishop, offers his views.

When contacted about wells he is drilling deeper in West Bishop, Russell Kile, owner of Maranatha Drilling, said overall there is a general trend of a declining water table which has dropped, he said, over many years. Kile said he believes it was accelerated this year due to a lack of surface water.

Kile said a lot of the wells in trouble have had problems for a number of years. Asked if DWP pumping over time may have caused the issues, Kile said DWP has not changed its pattern. He named one of DWP’s favorite excuses for pumping – watering the Lower Owens River and dust on the Owens Dry Lake.

Kile gave DWP credit for lowering the groundwater thirty feet or so. He said the groundwater used to sit at nearly ground level. Now, he said, DWP should get good marks for lowering the groundwater and improving water quality.

What about the fact that the roots of plants don’t go down 30 feet? Kile said where people want plants they can put them in and water them. As for the West Bishop homes no longer able to get water, Kile said their wells will be drilled down to 150 feet. He said the State of California is helping small water companies like one in West Bishop.

Kile did point to the Hillside Decree, won by local families in 1940, which bans DWP from export of groundwater in the Bishop area. LA can pump water but must use it on their lands in what is called the Bishop Cone. Under the Long Term Water Agreement, DWP is supposed to conduct an annual audit of Bishop Cone pumping.

Stan Matlick, whose family won the Hillside Decree, passed away last spring but consistently maintained that he believed LA was exporting groundwater that was co-mingled with other water in the complex canals and channels in the Bishop area.

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William I. Nicholson
William I. Nicholson
4 years ago

Hi, Great Post! Today, water well drilling is something faced by most home builders, but can also be part of a home renovation process. Once the homeowner and the well drilling company have determined the best location for the new well, water can be delivered to the home in as… Read more »

MJA
MJA
8 years ago

Some water ?s Does DWP reduce its ground water pumping in years of drought? Does DWP ever enforce water restrictions in LA like those being done in Mammoth? If there is no snow this year will water continue to be exported from the Owens Valley? If so, where will that… Read more »

The Waterboy
The Waterboy
8 years ago
Reply to  MJA

LADWP will drain Owen’s Valley of it’s last drop regardless of the current drought. It’s not about water, it’s about money, and the Owen’s Valley is LADWP’s cheapest water source. They will take advantage of it until it’s gone. You can bank on it.

JeremiahJoseph
JeremiahJoseph
8 years ago

How is it still a debate that LADWP’s influence in the valley has nothing to do with depleting plant life and lowering water table? Bishop cone or not, it’s not like the negative effects only stay by the well head. We know the water is being pumped at unprecedented levels… Read more »

The Waterboy
The Waterboy
8 years ago

“I have a hard time understanding why Mr. Kile was interviewed or considered an “expert.” Expert is the wrong word to use. We all think we are expert skiers, and it’s debatable after watching us ski, but few of us are pro’s. I have the upmost faith in my well… Read more »

Joe
Joe
8 years ago

I think Bob Harrington at the Water Department would be qualified to answer the questions more than Mr. Kile. I agree with HG that many of Mr. Kile’s statements make no sense. I would also like to know how the ICWD and Harrington is overseeing the DWP Bishop cone export… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
8 years ago
Reply to  Joe

We did quote Harrington in the first story done on the dried up wells. Mr. Kile is the well drilling owner at work to drill new wells for the West Bishop homes. He’s been drilling wells here for 40 years. He’s qualified to comment. His comments are his views of… Read more »

Joe
Joe
8 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

For the sake of accuracy I did not say Kile was not qualified but rather Harrington was more qualified. Harrington could certainly validate Kile’s claims as a additional source. Neither article addresses the issue about how ICWD is overseeing the Bishop Cone export.

Philip Anaya
Philip Anaya
8 years ago
Reply to  Joe

The Inyo County Water Dept. authors the annual Bishop Cone Audit. Here is the link to the 2011-12 Audit. http://www.inyocounty.us/Water/wp/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/FINAL-BCA-2011-2012.pdf From what I have learned over the years is that DWP provides the statistics. The Hillside Decree is supposed to restrict pumping (Extraction) water for export to Los Angeles but… Read more »

JeremiahJoseph
JeremiahJoseph
8 years ago
Reply to  Philip Anaya

Nice work Philip.
Definitely a need for accuracy!

Steve
Steve
8 years ago

Could it be that 100 years of collecting all the runoff water and pumping all DWP can get into their aqueduct is the reason why valley wells are running dry? If the 700 acre feet per year that DWP sends down their aqueduct was still in the valley for those… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
8 years ago
Reply to  Steve

Just a quick point. According to the Inyo Water Department, the capacity of the original aqueduct is 480 cfs or roughly 300,000 acre feet per year. The second aqueduct capacity – 300 cfs or 200,000 acre feet per year.
BK

Happy Gilmore
Happy Gilmore
8 years ago

I have a hard time understanding why Mr. Kile was interviewed or considered an “expert.” His comments make little to no sense and it appears he wants to forward some agenda he has. Why would lowering the ground table improve water quality? It’s a nonsequitar. Why would a lack of… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
8 years ago
Reply to  Happy Gilmore

I failed to make it clear that Kile’s company is the one drilling the new wells in West Bishop. I have now added that info in the lead. As for his quotes, these were his responses to my questions. We are trying to find out what has happened to dry… Read more »

Steve
Steve
8 years ago
Reply to  Happy Gilmore

Happy, the lowering of the ground water would make for better quality. Because the dog crap in the back yard is no longer in contact with the water table.

Philip Anaya
Philip Anaya
8 years ago
Reply to  Happy Gilmore

HG , I’m guessing that you are happy because you aren’t spending $ 20,000.00 on a new well. Since you are having a hard time understanding things I could refer you to all sorts of difficult and easy to understand stats but I’m guessing that you might not be happy… Read more »