LADWP Pulls Decision to Drill Two Proposed West Bishop Wells, Cites Conflict with Long Term Water Agreement
(LADWP press release) Bishop, CA – The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) today announced its decision to cancel plans to drill two new wells located in the West Bishop area. The decision was made by Department leadership because Inyo County did not intend to follow the new well procedures and impact assessment process as outlined in the Inyo/Los Angeles Long Term Water Agreement (LTWA), the governing document for many LADWP operations within Inyo County.
“We believe the new well procedure process has gone afield of what is outlined within the Long Term Water Agreement,” LADWP Senior Assistant General Manager of Water Richard Harasick said. “Because of this, we have decided to cancel drilling plans for the time being and reassess with the Technical Group on future project development.”
According the LTWA’s outlined procedures, new wells are first drilled, then tested and their data analyzed. That data then informs the well’s monitoring plan. In the case of these two proposed wells, Inyo County was asking LADWP to create a monitoring plan in absence of drilling and collecting data that would have resulted from testing that drilled site.
“We believe it is important for both LADWP and Inyo County to operate in accordance with the procedures outlined in the Long Term Water Agreement,” Harasick added. “Violating our governing document is not an option.”
LADWP had originally proposed construction of the two new wells, B2 and B5, on the Bishop Cone in the late 1980s.Both wells B2 and B5 are included in the 15 “new wells” evaluated and authorized under the 1991 Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the area.
During the preconstruction evaluation process, which is required by the LTWA and was completed by the Technical Group — a group of LADWP and Inyo County Water Department leaders who meet regularly to discuss water operations in Inyo County — some community members alleged that further environmental analysis of the proposed wells is required because the installation of B2 and B5 would cause a significant impact to domestic wells in the Bishop Cone area.
Although the preconstruction evaluation performed by LADWP and accepted by Inyo County’s technical experts comprehensively demonstrated that B2 and B5 will not have any impacts to local domestic wells, and the project provided for additional monitoring wells near the site, Inyo County wished to pursue further environmental study on the area and declined to issue an environmental health permit to LADWP for well construction in contradiction of the County ordinance.
LADWP will reassess with the Technical Group on the development of any future project relating to the wells moving forward.