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What rules should DWP pump plan be held to?

October 20, 2011

The LADWP and Inyo County are at odds when it comes to the department’s annual operations plan and how to handle potential disputes about proposed pumping. Photo courtesy aquafornia.com

Inyo County and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power are having a hard time agreeing on protocol when it comes to the LADWP’s annual operations report.
During Monday’s Inyo County-Los Angeles Standing Committee meeting, the two entities discussed whether section IV.8 of the Long-Term Water Agreement and Section I.C of the Green Book apply when the county contests the LADWP operations plan, as it did this year.
Inyo County Water Director Bob Harrington says no, those sections do not apply, while the LADWP claims they do.
If either entity decides to pursue the discussion further, the question will be turned over to a third party mediator.
According to Harrington, Section IV.B of the Water Agreement and I.C of the Green Book deal exclusively with identifying and defining long-term impacts and how to mitigate such impacts.
When it comes to annual operations reports, Harrington said the goal is to review the LADWP’s plans before they are implemented in order to prevent any long-term damage.
“The requirements of IV.A and I.C are lengthy and deal with evaluations to find if impacts are significant, and those evaluations can take up to two years,” Harrington said. “In our view, that’s not applicable to the question, because nothing would get resolved until after the pumping season.”
He added that “other sections of those documents pertain to the annual pumping plan and provide ways to avoid impacts.”
The question of procedure when dealing with an annual operations report came up earlier this year when county leaders contested the LADWP’s proposed plan for 2011-12.
According to Harrington, Inyo County expressed concerns over the departments proposed pumping amounts in the Blackrock area between Big Pine and Independence.
Last week the LADWP revised its pumping plan to reduce the amount of extraction from the Blackrock wellfield.
However, both agencies want to ensure there is no confusion about how each agency is to handle future disputes about annual pumping plans.
Harrington said the next step for Inyo County will be to discuss the disagreement about procedure with the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, Oct. 25.
At that time, Harrington said, the county will decide if it wants to send the disagreement to a third-party mediator, or let sleeping dogs lie.
Representatives from LADWP were unavailable for comment by press time Wednesday.

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