The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, accused of an accelerated search for every drop of water in the Eastern Sierra, now does not want to put water into the McNally ponds which is a required enhancement/mitigation project in Laws north of Bishop. The Inyo Water Commission recommends that the Inyo Supervisors support supplying the ponds with water from river diversions.
Earlier in September LADWP officials announced that they would ask the Inyo-LA Standing Committee to reduce the water supply to the McNally Ponds which were designed to mitigate major groundwater pumping in the 80s which destroyed whole areas of vegetation. The Long Term Water Agreement says that the Inyo Supervisors and LADWP working through the Standing Committee must agree to modifications of mitigation projects before changes happen.
When they met last week, the Inyo Water Commission recommended that the ponds be supplied with river water this year and that LADWP compensate Inyo County for past years when they did not supply the ponds with water and failed to get permission.
A report to the Water Commission says that LADWP’s annual Owens Valley report for three run-off years between 2007 and 2010 reveals that LA did not supply water to the McNally Ponds. The report also says, “It is probable that LADWP violated the Water Agreement in these years and perhaps others by decreasing the water supplied to the project without the agreement of the Board of Supervisors.”
As for the possible use of pumped water for the McNally Ponds, the Water Department report says that “vegetation and water table conditions in the area are in poor shape and additional pumping would exacerbate these conditions.”
In the Long Term Water Agreement, LADWP agreed to provide water to the McNally Ponds and to an area southeast of the Laws area. Earlier, Water Director Bob Harrington said that DWP has claimed that dry conditions have led to their request not to water McNally. This issue will go to the Inyo Supervisors next Tuesday and apparently on to the Standing Committee meeting next Wednesday.