The new water run-off year arrived on Sunday. Now the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power will soon issue a run-off forecast for the year. After that, DWP will give Inyo County a proposed pumping plan. Many expect a clash over how much LA should take out of the underground this dry year.
Inyo Water Director Bob Harrington said that LADWP had reported on March 1st that the snow course measurements showed a 26% of normal snowpack. A few storms since then have improved that number somewhat. Harrington said that LADWP staff also reported that based on the 26% of normal snowpack, they would calculate the run-off forecast at 63% of normal. LA factors in the previous year’s condition and other details to arrive at the run-off forecast.
Harrington said LADWP will give Inyo their pumping plan April 20th. Inyo has 10 days to respond. Differences will be discussed in a Technical Group meeting after that with a possible revision of plans to follow.
As Inyo County faces year after year of pumping, the Long Term Water Agreement still has no real method to stop pumps before they do damage. Both Inyo and LA have admitted that the so-called on-off provisions of the agreement don’t work. Staff from both sides have met to revise the agreement, but after more than six years, the two side have failed to agree on a workable method.
Now, officials want to hire a facilitator to work with Inyo and LA to come up with a workable method of controlling pumps. Some 30 years ago, Inyo County filed an environmental lawsuit to make DWP prove that pumping did not do significant damage. LA never did produce an adequate Environmental Impact Report on pumping. Instead, Inyo signed the agreement which also has not dealt with the main issue of pumping either.