Edison says creek managed to maintain flows

soforkbishopcrkBoth Edison and Department of Water and Power officials have hinted at possible talks and plans to keep water flowing down Bishop Creek this summer in view of the third drought year. Now, Edison says they did make an earlier decision to manage flows to help keep water flowing into West Bishop.

We asked Debbie Hess, Regional Manager of Public Affairs for Edison, if the utility planned to manage flows as suggested by former Edison hydrographer Burt Almond. He recommended a consistent 50 cubic feet per second to maintain flows throughout the summer. Almond said Bishop Creek maintains a year-round flow of 30 cfs and only an additional 20 cfs would need to be added. Ms. Hess said, “Southern California Edison is releasing water from the reservoirs in a pattern mimicking natural flows as of April 1st.”

When asked about the Chandler Decree that dictates legal flow requirements, Hess would only say that at the beginning of the season Edison decided to revert to natural flows that are lower than the normally scheduled Chandler Decree flows. She said this is designed to retain more water in the reservoirs and in the creek later in the season. Sources tell us that the LADWP website shows an average flow of roughly 78 cubic feet per second in Bishop Creek this season.

In spite of hopes for a more well-managed flow, Ms. Hess strongly underscored that this does not mean ditches in West Bishop properties will remain wet for the entire season and that is because of the severe drought conditions. Hess said hopefully it will mean water will last longer.

This week, DWP Manager Jim Yannotta said that LA is willing to enter into a “dialog on Bishop Creek flows.” He said DWP is concerned about irrigation requirements under the Long Term Water Agreement. He said the Inyo Supervisors and DWP, acting through the Standing Committee, would have to approve any reductions in irrigation water or water for mitigation projects if there are impacts from a reduction in Bishop Creek flows.

 

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6 Responses to Edison says creek managed to maintain flows

  1. Philip Anaya May 7, 2014 at 7:25 am #

    Last night at the Bishop Creek Water Association a new set of problems resulting from the dried up ditches was discussed. As the ditches have been rewatered it seems that there has been a horizontal spreading of moisture that has both ended up in basements and under homes in West Bishop . Also there has been contamination of some domestic wells where surface water has intruded into the supply . Folks reported that their water had become cloudy and that led to calls and testing by the Inyo County Enviromnmental Health. Bob Harrington reported that the DWP monitoring well off of Barlow had the water table at 5 feet where previously it had been at 17 feet . Geological structure and other explanations were offered. Ideas such as lining the ponds and ditches with plastic. Meanwhile the BCWA has turned off the ditches on the affected streets and there were folks on those streets who were asking for the water to be released into the ditches once again. Establishing an equilibrium after 6-7 months of dried up ditches that has never occurred previously is not as simple as anyone would expect.
    In a parallel discussion the need to address this years runoff occured. Currently the flows are in conformity with the requirements of the Chandler Decree. The irrigation season that began April 1 has so far met the Chandler flow requirements. The period April 16 -30 required 68 cfs daily average as metered below SCE plant #6. It ended up being 68.13 cfs . May 1-15 requires 87 cfs ( up through yesterday it has averaged 78.3 cfs) and goes to 98 cfs for the period of May 16-31. June, July and August require 106 cfs per month and Sept 1-15 is 76 cfs and the Season ends with Sept 16-30 with 53 cfs. There is insufficent water for these flows in the snowpack and no storage in South and Sabrina Lakes .
    The multiple problems associated with dry ditches, the fish, economic impacts ,the empty water ways, the horrendous spectre of domestic wells gone dry and that expense and now the diificulties of rewatering the waterways all point to unintended consequences avoided by past practices cooperatively managed by SCE and DWP. The is an immediate need for some foresighted management of Bishop Creek and that’s what hopefully will occur.
    There is a plan being organized by the Bishop Creelk Water Association to have DWP and SCE meet once again with Inyo County Bob Harrington and Linda Arcularius, Mr. Almond and Mr. Sofiel who in the past representing SCE and DWP respectively managed the flows from Bishop Creek were invited and agreed to attend. Ranchers representitives will be invited to this Bishop Creek Summit and there are strong desires and need for a resolution to manage whatever runoff we have in Bishop Creek Drainage Basin with the goal of maintaining water in the ditch system and avoiding the collateral effects that have been experienced from last year . It will take a strong willingness, cooperative effort and sufficent runoff that might not be there to achieve the goal of maintaining water in the ditches this year. Every day where flows are in excess of a “managed” release is literally water under the bridge and will effect the amount of water that could be available in Sept – December to keep the ditches and the ground wet . There is common recognition of all the issues . Mr Almond will be refining a management plan with addititonal data. The Bishop Creek Water Ass. will continue to do it’s best with the current situation. It was suggested that folks get together with other folks and work cooperatively to balance the ditch flows on their streets. Resolving problems is what we do daily. We can and must get these issues resolved

     
    • Philip Anaya May 7, 2014 at 10:38 am #

      In this narrative of the BCWA meeting, I failed to provide the fact that the Bishop Paiute Tribe is also to be invited to the Bishop Creek Summit Meeting. I apologize for the omission of this additional information. The importance of all the inclusion of the Tribe was addressed in the BCWA Plan last night and it should have been included in the narrative report.

       
  2. Bob Brown May 8, 2014 at 1:13 pm #

    Interesting to hear that ranchers and other agricultutral interests will be invited to the meeting. I’m sure they will be excited to sign on to this plan when they are told that 50 cfs will result in their parcel not receiving water. What is in it for them? Ask President Almond what their position was in the days of yore, he seems to have everything else figured out.

     
    • Philip Anaya May 8, 2014 at 6:46 pm #

      Mr. Almond is not the president . I and many others , thank him for all his work to resolve the issues of Bishop Creek. He is working for a solution. I also thank the Bishop Creek Water Association for taking the lead on this meeting.
      The Ranchers are in a world of hurt with water and with leases being presented to them changing terms in violation of the LTWA. It is most appropriate for them to be not only part of the discussion but also part of the decision as it is with the Tribe. I hope that the participants will come to the best agreement the best solution with the limited water that is available and another storm or two would be beneficial.
      Mr. Brown , your comments have not added much to a solution. If you have an idea of how many cfs the Ranchers need, time to share that information. There are a lot of folks ,our friends and neighbors experiencing hardship and need a resolution and some effective management decisions immediately so that we do not repeat these events into this next year.

       
  3. Shirley Stone May 8, 2014 at 4:31 pm #

    LADWP will not take the lead in determining who else is a party to the Chandler Decree. SCE will not modify flows unitl they receive some sort of unified request. Was it discussed at the meeting who might be willing to take the lead in identifying all other parties and coordianting an amedment effort? Until that happens I don’t think anything can change can it?

     

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