Key Water Policy Unanswered

In 1972, DWP finally dried up Black Rock Springs which used to feed the Fish Hatchery there. Two groundwater pumps went in to feed the hatchery, but they also drew down the water table. The meadowlands have turned into shrubs. The California Native Plant Society brought this issue to the attention of the Inyo-LA Standing Committee last July. Next week, they will ask that official body for answers, including a key policy decision.

Last July, a Native Plant letter went to the Standing Committee and suggested a cutback in groundwater pumping in the Black Rock area. Daniel Pritchett, Conservation Chair of the plant society, pointed out that Black Rock Springs used to provide 8,000 acre feet of water per year to the hatchery. Now, DWP pumps 12,000 acre feet in the same area. Why not cut back and save the environment?

Pritchett and others also put the question to LA and Inyo – is groundwater managed to avoid impacts in advance or let the damage be done and consider fixing it later? Past practices indicate that avoidance of damage is the policy, but some DWP documents have said they only have to mitigate damage after it's done.

11 years after Inyo signed the water agreement, this key policy remains up in the air.

The Standing Committee meeting takes place in Los Angeles next Wednesday, which makes it hard for Inyo citizens to get in on the discussion.

Other items on the agenda – Standing Committee responsibilities, Lower Owens River, groundwater management, City of LA water supply issues and land releasaes.

In case you want to make a trip to LA, the meeting takes place next Wednesday at 2:30pm in Room 1511 of the John Ferraro Building, DWP Headquarters.

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