Pritchett on “Excessive Pumping” by DWP

Daniel Pritchett
401 East Yaney St.
Bishop, CA 03514

Dear Editor:

According to a recent article (May 11, 2010) by Inyo Register Staff, the City of Los Angeles has reduced its water use by 20%. We commend Angeleos for their conservation efforts, and hope the mandatory conservation scheme now used in Los Angeles will become permanent.

Given this wonderful reduction in consumption one might think DWP is in a position to reduce its excessive groundwater pumping in Owens Valley. Will it? Of course not! Instead, DWP has proposed to increase pumping by about 35%, from 63,450 acre feet (af) to 86,000 af.

My claim that DWP’s pumping is excessive is based on data and analysis by the US Geological Survey. The USGS has estimated that long term average pumping should not exceed about 70,000 af/yr. According to DWP, its long term average pumping from Owens Valley is about 93,000 af year. This is an annual average excess of about 23,000 af.

The Inyo Register article also stated that LA residents cut their water use by nearly 30 billion gallons of water in the past nine months. Thirty billion gallons is approximately o 92,000 af. This means in nine months, LA residents have saved far more water than DWP pumped from Owens Valley all last year. DWP still plans, however, to increase its already excessive groundwater pumping.

The problem of DWP’s abuse of the Inyo-LA Long Term Water Agreement (LTWA) has been festering for years. I hope voters will consider incumbents’ failure to take meaningful action to enforce the LTWA when deciding how to vote in upcoming elections for County Supervisor.

Daniel Pritchett

Conservation Chair
Bristlecone Chapter, California Native Plant Society

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