Uneasy. That’s how Inyo officials feel about the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power groundwater pumping plan. For the first time, LADWP has proposed pumping in a wide range of acre feet with no one specific number. The Inyo Supervisors instructed their water director to express these concerns to LADWP in an official response today.
Under the Long Term Water Agreement, LADWP comes up with a pumping plan every year, and Inyo County can respond. LA rarely if ever changes anything in its initial proposal. In short, Inyo has exerted virtually no power over the pumping plan except the lengthy dispute process.
This year, LA plans to pump “between 61,900 and 88,000 acre feet of groundwater.” Last year LA’s pumping plan was 91,000 acre feet in spite of Inyo objections that this would damage the environment.
Of this year’s wide range of pumping rates, Inyo Water Director Bob Harrington said, “Their proposal is pretty amorphous.” Harrington said he’s considering countering that LA be more specific. He said that LADWP’s low end of the pumping range is “pretty good” at 61,900 acre feet of water. “We would support that,” Harrington said. But the upper end of 88,000 acre feet is another story.
Inyo Water Commission members have expressed similar questions. Harrington said the Water Commissioners are concerned that the pumping plan does not meet the letter of the Long Term Water Agreement which requires projected monthly pumping by well field. LADWP’s plan has no specific projection, just a wide range of possible pumping. For instance, LADWP plans to pump between 300 acre feet and 12,600 acre feet in the Taboose-Aberdeen area, which was a well field of particular environmental concern last year.