IWVGA Gen. Mgr’s perspective questioned

Editorial

As to the letter to the editor published this week from Carol Keefer, General Manager of the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority, we have some questions.

Does this letter come as a directive from the board? Does it reflect the perspective of the board?

Keefer refers to her “perspective” as from an outsider. I fail to understand how a General Manager could be considered an outsider. Having said that, I find this letter most confusing. The “perspective” is filled with assumptions that just are not true along with misleading statements. Any attempt to clarify issues will take some time. We will begin the process this week with some follow up in future editions.

It is not a fact that the Basin has been in “critical overdraft for decades.” The Todd Engineers Report states that as a fact but it is only an assumption. The Department of Water Resources did not declare this Basin as in critical overdraft until 2014. Existing peer reviewed studies (not reports) tell a very different story and show evidence of an annual recharge of 30,000-40,000 acre feet. Reference Gillespe and Thyne, 1996 and the David Williams Study of 2004. The Navy’s Environmental Impact Study states, “If certain management activities are implemented, the IWV could meet the demands for 100 years.” (US Navy, 2000)

The 7,650 acre feet per year recharge is debatable. This questionable number increases the need for further studies, data collection and analysis.

Noted in the letter Searles Valley Minerals is excluded in the statement regarding, “the Basin’s four largest extractors.” SVM’s pumping is reportedly 2,818 for the water year 2020 versus the Navy at 1,410 for that same period.

The total water produced, as reported by the GA to DWR, was 21,994 in the same year. Not consistent with the letter’s stated amount of 28,000 for the year.

The letter states, “Without replenishment the Basin would be unable to meet the Basin’s water demands in roughly 43 years.” This is a noticeable difference than the Navy’s claim of enough water to meet demands for 100 year. In reference to the statements made of the requirement of the GA to bring the Basin into balance is not consistent with the GA’s stated purpose. “The purpose of the Groundwater Sustainability Plan is to create a viable way to ensure that the Basin meets a sustainable goal by 2040 or 2045. Refer to the letters published on Page 8 of this edition.

In light of the adjudication commenced by the IWV Water District, DWR encourages interested stakeholders to focus their efforts on developing a collaborative solution to the issues that are currently being litigated and which may soon lead to additional litigation. DWR states that they have resources and stand ready to assist in such a collaborative process.

We encourage readers to express their concerns on this issue. They will published on the Opinion Page.

The next concerns to be addressed will be shallow wells and water importation.

Patricia Farris, Publisher

Story First Published: 2021-07-30