Pumping groundwater to mitigate damage done by pumping groundwater? That's the bizarre scenario for a mitigation project north of Independence.
Officials confirm that groundwater pumping did lead to the drying up of Big Seeley Springs on the east side of Highway 395 between Independence and Big Pine.
Under the water agreement, a mitigation measure began. A pump in that area puts water in a pond to replenish the springs. While there was some success along those lines, fears surfaced that continued pumping of some 900 acre feet per year would draw down the water table and re-destroy the springs.
Daniel Pritchett of the California Native Plant Society had appeared at a Supervisors' meeting to suggest that the Board not okay this pumping and require some analysis to determine how much water is really needed to keep the mitigation pond at a good level.
That was a number of months ago, and Inyo still doesn't know what's up at that location.
Water Director Tom Brooks said that his department is "in the process of evaluating Well 349. The analysis is in progress," he said.
Pritchett pointed out that as long as the pumping continues at a rate of 900 acre feet per year, damage is certain and potentially more water is being exported as a result of the pumping regime.