LADWP pumping plan released

groundwater-pumpbp-1In this dry year, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power plans to pump in the “high 70,000 acre-feet range” in the Owens Valley, according to a letter sent to the Inyo Water Director from the DWP Manager of the Aqueduct, James Yannotta.

The letter also says that if the Inyo-Los Angeles Standing Committee agrees to reduce pumping for irrigation in the Laws and Independence areas, annual groundwater pumping would go more toward the “low 70,000 acre-feet range.” This plan is for the next six months. LADWP says they expect to pump between 44,160 and 54,660 acre-feet during the first six months of the runoff year. Another plan would come out October 20th for the rest of the year. Last runoff year, DWP pumped 88,681 acre feet.

In its 2013-2014 Operations Plan, DWP says their plan is consistent with the “management strategy of the Inyo-LA Water Agreement.” The document says the overall goal of the Water Agreement is environmental protections and a reliable water supply, which are the basis of the current operations plans. DWP calls their operations “conservative, responsible and environmentally sustainable.” The Inyo Water Department is currently analyzing the plan.

DWP says their plan will not “mine” any well fields, according to the well management section of the Long Term Water Agreement. Both Inyo and LADWP have agreed that section is ineffective. They have been working on a new pump management plan for nearly seven years.

The Operations Plan for six months says DWP will pump 5,760 to 7,200 acre feet in Laws, depending on water needs and environmental conditions. DWP wants to reduce pumping for irrigation by around 5,800 acre feet.

In the Bishop well field, the Hillside Decree limits DWP’s groundwater extraction to that used on City-owned lands in the Bishop area. Planned pumping is 9,000 acre feet.

In Big Pine, DWP plans to pump between 11,500 and 12,900 acre feet. In the Taboose-Aberdeen well field, the pumping is planned for 4,200 to 7,380 acre feet. The Thibaut-Sawmill well field shows 6,800 acre feet. Independence- Oak Well field would be pumped around 5,300 acre feet. DWP has asked for a temporary 20% reduction in pumping for irrigation in Independence. Symmes-Shepherd well field, 3,100 acre feet. Bairs-Georges well field, 1,320 acre feet. The Lone Pine well field, 560 acre feet.

DWP also plans to provide around 198,800 acre feet for in-valley uses like irrigation, stockwater, recreation and wildlife projects. Water for the Owens Dry Lake dust control could go as high as 95,000 acre-feet.

A total of 69,000 acre feet will be exported from Inyo and Mono Counties, DWP says, during the 2013-14 runoff year. The Inyo Water Commission will meet Thursday at 6pm at the Big Pine Library to talk about DWP’s Operations Plan.


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7 Responses to LADWP pumping plan released

  1. Tim April 22, 2013 at 5:17 pm #

    Owens Lake was full at the inception of the aqueduct and now it is empty. The Owens Aquifer was also full before the aqueduct, it will soon be empty. The surplus is nearly gone.
    What next LA?

  2. Anachronism April 22, 2013 at 8:54 pm #

    Don’t be intimidated by DWP’s threats. Read the Long Term Water Agreement. DWP cannot cut back irrigation in Independence and Laws by 20%. It is verboten!

    This is from Nancy Master’s excellent letter that was published a couple of weeks ago:

    Type E Vegetation Classification
    (Lands supplied with water.) These lands will be supplied with water and will be
    managed to avoid causing significant decreases and changes in vegetation from
    vegetation conditions which existed on such lands during the 1981-82 runoff

    And in the 1991 EIR it states:

    Under the Agreement, LADWP must continue to provide enough water for Los Angeles-owned lands in Inyo County in an amount sufficient to continue the water-related uses of such lands that were in effect during the 1981-82 runoff year. LADWP must continue to provide water to Los Angeles-owned lands in the Olancha-Cartago area such that the lands that have received water in the past will continue to receive water.
    Lands to be supplied with water will be managed so as to avoid causing significant decreases and changes in vegetation from conditions that existed on such lands during the 1981-82 runoff year….
    The Agreement also provides that significant decreases in recreational uses and wildlife habitats on such lands (which in the past have been dependent on water supplied by LADWP) are to be avoided.

    So, the ranchers need to find out just what those 1981-82 levels were and pressure Inyo County to stand firm.

    I think Los Angeles needs to go shopping…for MWD water.

    • sierraFan April 24, 2013 at 9:23 am #

      this would all be nice except, as we’ve found out with the dust control issues, the DWP will take now and apologize later… if prompted or pushed to do so. Like many large entities, they have a legal team that will challenge every aspect of the past rules and do what ever they can to push or change the limits based on what ever their interpretation might be. In short, the lawyers will no doubt be paid well if DWP decides the rules aren’t to or for their benefit!

      Unless of course the DWP decides the landscape, Ranchers, vegetation, etc. are put as the top priority! I have doubts about that.

  3. Daris April 23, 2013 at 8:25 am #

    I brought this same subject before the Inyo Board of Supervisors on October 7th, 2008 and as a rancher asked our supervisor to stand firm and was told that the water usage was between the leese and the DWP. Not what the LTWA stated about usage in 1981-82 year or to provide water so no significant decrease to lands provided water are avoided. It is going to take a lawsuit to make DWP adhere to the LTWA. In the meantime enjoy fishing in our lakes and stream and just see for your self how little water there is compared to what was there 2,4,10, 20 years ago.

  4. MJA April 23, 2013 at 9:03 am #

    I think DWP will continue to pump whatever they want;
    They own the land and the agreement is to weak to stop them.
    But someday the pumps will run dry,
    Greed is that way,
    And that will be the end of this and that.


  5. Philip Anaya April 23, 2013 at 7:46 pm #

    Inyo County Water Commission Meeting, Thursday 4/25 Big Pine Library, item 4 on the Agenda: Draft 2913 LADWP Annual Op Plan and here,s the link to the document

    Type E Veg Classification Section II article 4 Paragraph 3 (Longterm Water Agreement) says that they can reduce water to the Ranchers and the Enhancement/Mitigation with the approval of Inyo County.
    I hope that the Water Commission recommends against this approval to the Board . Great reporting BK . Best water post of the year, Tim.

  6. J-Frog April 23, 2013 at 10:58 pm #

    LADWP’s definition of “conservative, responsible and environmentally sustainable”, if it aligns with Websters Dictionary definitions, it is not relevent to any outcomes their influence in the valley has had!


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