By Deb Murphy
Two years after Inyo County’s Water Department was awarded grant funding for the study of a recycled water project in Big Pine, area residents will get a chance to help figure out what to use the water for at a town forum at 5:30 p.m. this Wednesday at the Big Pine Town Hall on Dewey Street.
The initial funding, $267,000 was earmarked for a consultant to conduct a feasibility study working with the community, the Water Department and other stakeholders on the complexities of recycled water for irrigation. Basically, the consultant will answer questions like what level of treatment would be necessary for which end uses, plus the costs and design of the necessary infrastructure.
The knowns at this stage are the suppliers of the recyclable water: the Big Pine Community Service District with approximately 100 acre-feet a year and possibly the Big Pine Paiute Tribe of Owens Valley Reservations with another 22.4 acre-feet annually.
The award of the consultant contract to R.O. Anderson Engineering, Inc. is on Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors consent agenda. Included in the scope of work is an evaluation of using solar energy to supply the end projects’ electrical requirements.
One of the initial potential projects for recycled water was the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power land at the corner of Bartell and U.S. Highway 395, next to the Big Pine schools. The list has been expanded to possibly include native revegetation of 180 acres of abandoned agricultural land, irrigation for a park and ball fields, community gardens as well as the reservation’s planned commercial park.
Narrowing those and other options down to three will begin at Wednesday’s meeting.
The grant funding is Proposition 84 monies from the California Department of Water Resources funneled through the Inyo/Mono Integrated Regional Water Management Program.