To the Editor: Flaws in the GA plan

The current Groundwater Authority plan as submitted to the state has been formulated without regard to two former studies that estimate the IWV aquifer to hold at least 3 million acre-feet of capacity (one study is the Bureau of Reclamation study of 1993). It further neglects to address the plain fact that the only water users in the valley with an actual problem are the percentage of private well owners who have a low head of water in their wells. These amount to less than 600 households, and the problem is solved with minimal expense by the placement of new, deeper wells. The majority of water users in the valley are served by the Indian Wells Valley Water District, which has wells over 1000 feet deep to draw from, with no supply problem at all.

With total estimated expenditures that would cost the targeted groups of the IWVWD and Searles Valley more than $300 million in capital costs and $9 million in annual operating costs, this plan is an economic back breaker for our valley. Many individual households would end up being charged more than $1,500 per year for this plan. This would force many to simply leave the valley for places of affordable living costs. Many businesses would be severely impacted also.

This plan is in addition being submitted by a body that is not representative of the residents of the valley. No single one of them was elected to this position of policing and taxing authority. One on the GA members (Inyo County) is from a location that could not possibly have more than 20 residents in the Indian Wells Valley, yet was given one fifth of the voting power. The valley citizens’ right to choose who would wield such power over their lives has been usurped by this board. This plan will stand as a testament to unconstitutional tyranny if implemented.

The current plan should be abolished and a new attempt at formulating one by an elected GA board instituted, after one has been duly voted into power and given power by the people it will stand to represent.

Mike Neel

Story First Published: 2020-02-28