GA approves new monitoring well

GA approves new monitoring wellBy BRIAN COSNER

News Review Staff Writer

The IWV Groundwater Authority approved an agreement with the state Department of Water Resources to install a monitoring well in the southwest region of the groundwater basin near the foot of the El Paso Mountains.

The 1,500-foot, $800,000 monitoring well is part of DWR’s Technical Support Services grant program and will provide technical groundwater data at various depths of the aquifer.

For years, residents and water stakeholders have asked the GA to pursue more information in the relatively under-explored El Paso region of the basin. But while the monitoring well will provide additional technical information, it’s unclear whether it gives any insight into the efficacy of actually pumping groundwater in the area.

“What we have is an augmented water problem,” said the GA’s IWV Water District representative Stan Rajtora at a recent meeting. “We’re looking for more water – new water. And it sounds like what we’re ending up with is something that tells us water depth.”

Jean Moran of Stetson Engineers – the GA’s water resources management firm – said the well would not support active pumping tests would provide other technical information such as water quality, water depth and sediment profile.

Rajtora asked if there would be any follow-on projects more focused on pumping, but the grant program included none.

“We still need to find out if we can pump water there,” he said. “We need to look at what our options are and evaluate the real capability of that area.”

Steve Johnson from Stetson added that while there were no other projects included in the grant, the GA could utilize future rounds of Navy-Coso royalties funding for future projects. In the meantime, the proposed project will continue to collect technical information.

The GA is only responsible for $83,000 of the projects total cost – most of which will go toward data collection over the next 20 years. The remainder of the project will be funded by the grant.

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Story First Published: 2021-02-12