Inyo County and Los Angeles officials will be meeting in Southern California Thursday to discuss a number of water-related issues concerning the Owens Valley.
The Inyo/L.A. Standing Committee is scheduled to meet at 1 p.m. at 111 N. Hope St. in Los Angeles.
The committee is scheduled to discuss an ongoing issue regarding water at the McNally Ponds in Laws, weed control throughout the Owens Valley (and the Lower Owens River Project specifically) and a number of reports on ongoing activities.
According to Inyo County Water Director Dr. Bob Harrington, the Inyo-L.A. Long-Term Water Agreement, which dictates many of the policies and procedures related to L.A.’s water gathering efforts in the Eastern Sierra, allows the LADWP to reduce water usage on mitigation projects in dry years, as long as the Inyo County Water Department and LADWP agree on the reduction.
Harrington said the LADWP requested permission to either reduce water at the McNally Ponds Enhancement/Mitigation project, or to activate wells in the Laws area to make up for water being used there.
Harrington said the Water Department is recommending that the reduction be granted, but the ultimate decision is up to the Inyo County Board of Supervisors, which will be discussing the issue at its meetings today in Independence.
“There is also a pasture part of this project that the LADWP didn’t irrigate this year, but we’re not asking for any action on that,” Harrington said.
County and city leaders will also discuss invasive weed management in Inyo County at the meeting.
According to Harrington, the 2004-05 Lower Owens River Project agreement included a seven-year mitigation project that required the LADWP to fund invasive weed eradication.
As part of the agreement, the LADWP paid Inyo County staff, through the Agricultural Department, to handle the weed mitigation.
Harrington said that program expired this year, and the LADWP opted to continue invasive weed control in-house.
Harrington said weed control is on Thursday’s agenda so Inyo leaders can assess the LADWP’s efforts. He said the LADWP will give a report on weed control efforts throughout the county, while county staff will focus on a weed report on the LORP.
The group will also be discussing a report on issues regarding the Blackrock 94 vegetation parcel. Harrington said there has been no resolution on issues regarding Blackrock, and he is not sure what Thursday’s report will include.
Inyo County and the LADWP have a long-standing disagreement about the amount of water being pumped from the Blackrock area, with the Inyo County Water Department claiming that pumping is leading to a low water table that is damaging Blackrock’s alkali meadow. Neither agency has come up with a mutually agreeable solution, but dialogue continues at Standing Committee and Technical Group meetings.
The Standing Committee is also scheduled to hear reports on Green Book revisions, an ongoing process, the Owens Lake Groundwater Evaluation Project and saltcedar treatment and removal.
This meeting is open to the public and all who are able are welcome to attend. The next Standing Committee meeting is scheduled to take place in Inyo County.