Stan Matlick of Bishop long protected the underground water of the Bishop area. His family won the Hillside Decree which banned DWP from exporting groundwater in Bishop. He fought later court battles and patrolled Department of Water and Power pumps to watch out for the water. Matlick died in May but left word with a friend to check on Well Number 406 in northwest Bishop. Matlick said it should go off in early October.
When asked about this, DWP officials said that Los Angeles’s interpretation is that they can pump as much as they use in surface water on what’s called the Bishop Cone or Bishop area. They claim they can keep pumping Well 406 because they haven’t pumped as much as they have used in surface water.
Inyo Water Director Bob Harrington said that there are concerns about downstream uses justifying DWP running pumps in Bishop. Harrington said that Well 406 generally runs at about 150 to 160 acre feet per month from April through September and is “very seldom run outside of the irrigation season.”
Harrington said during those six months, there is downstream irrigation greater than the amount pumped by the well, so operating the well is “compliant with the Hillside Decree.” He said after September if the pumping appears greater than the uses, the Inyo Water Department would ask that LADWP turn the well off. Harrington said that in the past DWP has generally agreed to such requests.