Groundwater groups discuss importation, outreach, growth

Groundwater groups discuss importation, outreach, growthWhile groundwater committees work on technical, policy recommendations to the IWVGA board, officials discuss how to support growth and the mission at China Lake under state groundwater restrictions


By BRIAN COSNER, News Review Staff Writer

The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority advisory committees met on Thursday, March 1. The Technical Advisory and Policy Advisory Committees comprise local stakeholders to advise the IWVGA board on actionable items pertaining to local groundwater use.

While details were not available at press time, the TAC agenda included continued discussion of priority projects and tasks for developing a Groundwater Sustainability Plan, including updating the groundwater model and discussing recycled water and imported water opportunities. The PAC will continued discussing strategies for community outreach and engagement.

Both committees will give their reports to the IWVGA board when it meets Thursday, March 15, 10 a.m. at City Hall.

The board consists of representatives from the IWV Water District (Director Peter Brown), Ridgecrest (Mayor Peggy Breeden), Kern (1st District Supervisor Mick Gleason), Inyo (5th District Supervisor Matt Kingsley) and San Bernardino (Bob Page, county administrative office) and advisory members from the Navy (Public Works Officer Cmdr. Brian Longbottom) and the Bureau of Land Management (Ryan Klausch).

The IWVGA’s purpose is to develop and implement a sustainability plan that meets the requirements of the state’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act by 2020 — those requirements being that the IWV halt pumping more groundwater than naturally flows into our aquifer. With pumping at an estimated five times the amount of inflow — it’s a tall order.

At several recent meetings, IWVGA Chair Peggy Breeden said that Navy officials have offered to join boardmembers in talking with the Department of Water Resources to discuss options that won’t inhibit growth at China Lake given the amount of groundwater we have in storage.

“How do we grow? How do we take care of our incoming people?” said Breeden.

“How do we make sure that the DWR understands the importance of the mission at China Lake?”

While conversations about bringing these issues to the DWR are obviously occurring, they are not happening in the public forum of IWVGA meetings.

Breeden said that this topic will be an agenda item “very soon” and that the group intends to come up with a formal plan.

“We have to have staff give us options that are real and concrete,” said Breeden. “This isn’t the Groundwater Sustainability Plan itself, just options to keep growing along the way.

“Does this mean we ignore those well owners who are being impacted by pumping? Absolutely not. There are solutions – importing and treating water.

“We just need to find ways to work together.”

Pictured: Mayor Peggy Breeden — IWV Groundwater Authority Chair — at a recent groundwater meeting. — Photo by Laura Austin

Story First Published: 2018-03-02