Officials of Mammoth Community Water District and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power continue to meet over a possible settlement of DWP’s two lawsuits aimed at Mammoth’s rights to Mammoth Creek water.
Water District Manager Greg Norby said the two sides met last Tuesday in Los Angeles. DWP General Manager Ron Nichols was there along with Assistant General Manager Jim McDaniel, Director of Water Operations Marty Adams and attorney Stuart Somach. There for Mammoth were District Manager Norby, attorneys Steve Kronick and Alan Lilly and board members Tom Cage and Dennis Domaille. A second meeting was held this Wednesday in LA with the same participants.
Norby said all parties signed a confidentiality clause on the discussions. So, he offered no details except to say, “We did make progress towards narrowing down the range of possible settlement frameworks.” Norby said the two sides also agreed to meet again in LA on November 19th.
Initially, DWP officials said they wanted to settle their suits by having Mammoth Water District buy replacement water to make up for Mammoth’s claimed water rights. The cost – roughly $2 million per year. Mammoth officials said that was unacceptable.
In Superior Court in Mammoth Lakes Thursday, Judge James Garbolino reviewed the request from both Mammoth and DWP to put the case on hold and continue with negotiations. The Judge agreed with the request and scheduled another case management conference for January 29th.
Water District Manager Norby said, “The court will be looking for progress to the point that both parties’ governing boards would have sufficient information on settlement agreement principles to consider and act on by this time.” If progress is not made, opening briefs would be submitted shortly after the January 29th conference.
LADWP claims Mammoth has no rights to Mammoth Creek. Mammoth Water District officials say the state issued the District those rights more than sixty years ago. Mammoth claims some 2600 acre feet per year and frequently uses less.