GA: ‘All wells must be registered’

GA: ‘All wells must be registered’By BRIAN COSNER

News Review Staff Writer

An ordinance went into effect Tuesday, Oct. 1, that all wells in the Indian Wells Valley must be registered with the IWV Groundwater Authority. The authority’s primary directive under the state’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act is to create a Groundwater Sustainability Plan that halts groundwater level decline by 2040.

All “non de minimis” pumpers, nonresidential users or those who pump more than two acre-feet of water per year were required to register when the authority levied a groundwater pumping fee in 2016.

But in the interest of collecting more data about our groundwater basin and of equitably levying future fees, the authority is now requiring all well owners to register.

“We are all going to pay more for our water and we’re going to use less,” was the word from 1st District Supervisor Mick Gleason during last month’s IWVGA board meeting.

The ordinance was passed during the authority’s Aug. 21 board meeting. In its latest meeting, the board discussed putting up a billboard on Sept. 30 to announce that wells needed to be registered by Oct. 1.

“There obviously will be some leniency there,” said Acting General Manager Don Zdeba. “But according to the ordinance, that’s when it’s supposed to be in effect.”

But members of the public complained about making a such a public announcement with so little notice.

“People are going to be confused or upset because the date will have passed,” said Camille Anderson during public comment. But Legal Counsel Jim Worth said the date couldn’t be changed unless the board changed the ordinance.

“I pointed out to you over and over how important outreach is and how sensitive the well community is,” said Don Decker as a member of the Domestic Well Owners Association. “Having the Oct. 1 due date still formally part of the process just casts more really bad feelings your way.”

Members of the board agreed with the public that the notice was too short. “We’ve got to get it out there – ‘we’re late. It’s our fault, not yours,’” said Gleason.

The board agreed to redo the billboards without the date requirement at the risk of eating the costs of the original advertisement. “I think it’s worth it,” said Gleason.

Failure to register an active well could result in civil action and penalties by the authority.

For the full ordinance, well registration forms and more information about the authority, see iwvga.org.

Story First Published: 2019-10-04