By Deb Murphy
Monday’s Technical Group meeting had the usual suspects who fill the spectator seats scratching their heads.
The group, made up of Inyo County and Los Angeles Department of Water and Power staff, voted to forward a recommendation to their respective reps on the Standing Committee to provide no water to the McNally waterfowl ponds and the 100-acre meadow during this run-off year.
Since the mitigation project hasn’t received water for a very long time, due to conveyance issues, there was an unspoken “what just happened.” Sally Manning suggested the County was rolling over to LADWP since no alternate mitigation project was mentioned as the recipient of McNally’s water. County Water Department staffers explained alternative projects were still being explored but that exploration was not part of the immediate motion.
A full explanation came after the meeting from Water Department Director Bob Harrington.
Remember the May 12 Standing Committee meeting? Inyo County reps held firm that no permanent program for “reasonable reduction” of irrigation water would be put in place, holding out for input in that decision-making process as the need arises.
The County made the motion that McNally not be provided water and the allotment be moved to a project without water supply issues. LA voted no, then moved that McNally not be watered based on past practices. Inyo voted no. They call that a checkmate.
All the little nuances of the County’s position were somewhat drowned out by the City’s attorney’s repeated question “What is that? Is that a program?”
“This vote was procedural,” said Harrington. The procedures set out in the Long Term Water Agreement require the Tech Group to evaluate conditions and make recommendations to the Standing Committee–as opposed to blanket approval for a permanent “reasonable reduction” program for drought years.