GA Board disagree on basin overdraft

Guest Editorial

GA Board disagree on basin overdraftBased upon the last Groundwater Authority Meeting on March 9th, it appears the directors on the GA Board do not agree on the magnitude of the basin overdraft. Understanding the groundwater overdraft is key to being able to solve the overdraft problem. As an onlooker, it appears the GA is spending a lot of money to solve a problem they do not understand.

Locally, we have homeowners worried about their home values if Trona were to lose 600 jobs due to threat of plant closure. We have fixed income residents concerned about how they are going to pay their water bills now that the GA fees more than double the cost of a unit of water. Local well owners worry if they will be permitted to pump water from their own wells. This ambivalence may be due to a lack of communications between the GA and the public. Public outreach needs to improve to reduce public anxiety.

According to Director Rajtora, the Water District representative, there are two data points on basin overdraft. The Groundwater Sustainability Plan contains the early estimate, and the second more recent measurement (called the change to groundwater in storage) is contained in the 2019 Annual report. The GSP estimate indicates an annual overdraft of 25 thousand acre-feet. The 2019 Annual Report indicates an annual overdraft of 5.5 thousand acre-feet. It appears that the GA made no apparent effort to reconcile these two widely different estimates. The difference represents 3 times of what the Indian Wells Water District pumped for the last year.

It appears that only one member of the GA is concerned regarding such a large discrepancy between the two available overdraft estimates. Could this be due to the Water District supplying the large majority of the funding to the GA?

Director Rajtora stated that we will not be able to control the overdraft until we can measure the overdraft. That makes sense to a lot of people. I urge all GA Board members to focus on understanding the actual extent of the basin problem before spending massive amounts of money without a clear vision or sound objectives.

James Mower,

President

Ridgecrest Area Association of Realtors

Story First Published: 2022-03-18