Events

9/6/2005 Support the Inyo County Water Department this Tuesday
Last week, the Inyo County Water Commission decided to recommend three actions to the Inyo County Board of Supervisors this Tuesday, September 6 at 10 a.m. We've posted the Inyo County Water Commission's agenda request below (as text) for your perusal. Please call your supervisor or attend this Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting to support the Inyo County Water Department. (Board meetings are held in the Board of Supervisors Room at 224 N. Edwards in Independence.)

FROM: WATER COMMISSION

FOR THE BOARD MEETING OF: 6 September 2005

SUBJECT: RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE WATER COMMISSION

RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE WATER COMMISSION:

The Water Commission requests that the Board consider the following recommendations:

1. Direct the Water Department to make the development of provisions to augment or replace the existing groundwater management provisions of the Green Book a priority to be completed within one year. Further, that, if possible, the Water Department is to work cooperatively with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and Montgomery Watson Harza in this work, and if a cooperative effort is not possible, the Water Department is to conduct the work independently.

2. Provide sufficient funding to the Water Department (using funds allowed under Court Order of August 8, 2005 –see #3 below, or General Funds if funds do not become available for use by the Water Department under the Court Order) to prevent the loss of its current GIS/LAN coordinator and to adequately staff the Department so that it can perform the work directed above and the other work of the department including monitoring and analyses, enhancement and mitigation projects, mitigation measures and the Lower Owens River Project.

3. Seek modification of the Court Order of August 8, 2005 in Sierra Club v. Los Angeles to allow a portion of the $5000.00 per day payments to be made by LADWP be used to augment existing funding provided by LADWP under the Water Agreement to fund the Water Department.
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CAO RECOMMENDATION:


SUMMARY DISCUSSION:

At the Water Commission meeting of 24 August 2005, the Water Commission discussed the unique opportunity that has been afforded to the County by the issuance of the Court Order in Sierra Club v. Los Angeles. Among its many benefits, the Commission noted that Court Order provides an opportunity to improve groundwater management provisions contained in the Green Book that both the County and LADWP acknowledge should be improved to better achieve the goals of the Water Agreement. The Commission believes that completing such work prior to expiration of the court ordered groundwater pumping restrictions would be of great benefit to the County.

At the meeting, Commission members and the public voiced a strong desire to have the Water Department adequately staffed and funded. It was noted that adequate funding is necessary to perform the work recommended above, other work of the department and to prevent the loss of the current GIS/LAN coordinator. It was stressed that the current GIS/LAN coordinator is needed to assist in performing the work recommended above and to assist the scientific staff on other important work. It was noted that the GIS/LAN coordinator is especially important now given the recent and future reports issued by Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s consultant Montgomery Watson Harza and the need for the Water Department to adequately assess their data and conclusions.

It was noted that historically, the Water Department has received only a small portion of its revenues, if any, from the General Fund monies. It was also noted that General Fund revenues are currently in short supply. Further, it was discussed that for budgetary reasons, the Water Department has been forced to eliminate seasonal staff positions for vegetation and hydrological monitoring. Since these seasonal positions were removed, the scope of the monitoring program has been reduced, and the scientific staff has had to collect field data themselves, thereby limiting the ability of the scientists to perform analyses of the data. It was stated by the public that the Water Department has collected monitoring data for over a quarter of a century and that it is a huge mistake to reduce monitoring at this time—and to require high paid scientific staff to personally conduct the monitoring.

Representatives of the Sierra Club and the Owens Valley Committee stated that those organizations would likely have no problem with the County using a portion of the $5,000 a day payments under the Court Order to provide funding for the Water Department.

For the reasons discussed above, the Water Commission recommends that the Board take the action described above.

ALTERNATIVES:

Reject the above recommendations
Accept all or some of the recommendations with modifications
Accept none of the recommendations.

OTHER AGENCY INVOLVEMENT:
County Counsel
LADWP
Montgomery Watson Harza
MOU Signatories

FINANCING:
Funding provided under the Court Order in Case S1CVCVO1-29768, or General Funds if funding cannot be made available under the Court Order.


Contacts:    Phone: