To show how little power Inyo County has over groundwater pumping, the Department of Water and Power has ignored Inyo’s request for less pumping and will march right ahead with 91,000 acre feet of pumped water this year.
Inyo Supervisors had supported 68,500 acre feet to allow the huge run-off to restore some of the water tables dried up by DWP pumps over the years. Inyo pointed to dead or dying plants that need more groundwater. DWP responded with a list of their good deeds, patronizing remarks and rationalizations for more pumping.
Last year, DWP pumped more than Inyo recommended, too. Inyo did not fight it but said that they expected DWP to come up with a pilot project for a different way of managing groundwater in the Big Pine/ Aberdeen area this year. That didn’t happen.
Now the big question – what will Inyo Supervisors do about it? When asked about that, Inyo Water Director Bob Harrington said Inyo has made no decision on how to respond yet. He said, “We have some discussions to have and decisions to make.”
Harrington said the Inyo Supervisors will next meet June 7th when they will likely discuss the groundwater pumping issue. Earlier local DWP Manager Gene Coufal scolded Inyo for its desire to limit pumping. Later, the head of all DWP Water Operations, Martin Adams, came to a supervisors’ meeting to suggest he was ready to work with the board on land and economic matters. Some in the audience said it sounded like he was trying to buy off the Board’s possible dispute of DWP’s pumping.