At the end of August, Inyo County Water Director Bob Harrington sent a letter to the manager of Coso Geothermal to say that the company could continue groundwater pumping in Rose Valley as part of the energy operations. Little Lake Ranch has appealed that decision, and Tuesday Harrington had planned a workshop with the Inyo Supervisors on the Rose Valley operations, but the item was pulled from the agenda.
In his letter to Coso, Bob Harrington had said that the Water Department’s consultant assessed the Rose Valley groundwater system with respect to groundwater pumping and Coso’s Conditional Use Permit. The consultant found that Coso pumped almost 1800 acre feet per year less than permitted. The consultant also implemented updated monitoring methods. The Water Department determined that fluctuations in the level of Little Lake were not caused by groundwater pumping. The Department approved Coso continuing to pump at the current rate of 3,040 acre feet per year.
Little Lake Ranch filed an appeal of approval of the continued pumping. The appeal focuses on plans of the Los Angeles Department of Water and power to sink a well in Rose Valley for purposes of pumping more water into the aqueduct. Little Lake says Inyo allowed Coso to keep pumping without considering the further impacts from a new DWP well. Little Lake’s attorney Gary Arnold also claims that underground water levels have already exceeded trigger levels in monitoring wells. Arnold says the Water Department failed to allow public comment on Coso’s continued pumping.
On a related note, the Inyo Supervisors objected to DWP’s new well in Rose Valley on grounds that it does not comply with the Water Agreement and has the potential to have a significant impact. At last word, DWP had not responded to the County’s letter.
The workshop on Coso’s pumping project was scheduled for 11am. In a late addendum, officials pulled this item from the agenda.