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To all concerned water users, I became aware yesterday of the Department of Water Resource's approval of the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP). This GSP is radically different from those proposed in the Southern San Joaquin Valley and sets a dangerous precedent that could extend into other basins across the state by setting water allocations based upon a GSA’s determination of water rights. This purely political determination was made with the stroke of a bureaucratic pen, without providing property owners a day in court. The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority (IWVGA) is clearly trying to permanently end all ag activity in the Indian Wells Valley through extreme fees and very short-term groundwater pumping allowances. The IWGA determined agriculture had no water rights to native groundwater. It then imposed a $2,130 replenishment on groundwater use. The IWVGA Board of Directors is comprised of only one major water user, the Indian Wells Valley Water District (Water District). The Water District is the only member of the IWVGA that pays fees and was recently removed from the Chairperson position by the other agencies. The Water District has been forced to file an adjudication in the basin. The Water District is not the only major water user without representation. The major water users in the Indian Wells Valley, including agriculture and industry, have had no effective input or say in the GSA’s policies or the GSP. In my opinion, the GSA has been fiscally irresponsible and has misrepresented many facts and conditions to the residents of the Indian Wells Valley and to DWR in their GSP. I am writing you to request action on your part - help me push back on out-of-control government. My farm is currently in jeopardy. Your water rights may be next on the chopping block. Please personalize and forward this letter to Jim DeBoo, the Governor's Executive Secretary, and Karen Ross, Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, at the following email addresses: Regards, Rod Stiefvater Mojave Pistachios, LLC

As seen in the letters below, California’s Department of Water Resources (DWR) is offering to assist in a collaborative process to bring together Indian Wells Valley stakeholders.

Mojave Pistachios remains optimistic and willing to work with DWR and all stakeholders in order to craft a fee that is legally compliant, transparent, clearly defined, and that properly spreads the burden of shortage across all water users in the Basin.

As of today, we haven’t heard that IWVGA has also accepted DWR’s offer.

071521 DWR letter
Download PDF • 273KB

072321 MP response letter to DWR
Download PDF • 548KB

(Ridgecrest) – Mojave Pistachios' counsel, Scott Slater of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP, issued the following statement regarding the Fourth District Court of Appeals order which preliminarily denied their request for an extraordinary writ enjoining the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority (IWVGA) from collecting the $2,130 per acre-foot Basin Replenishment Fee. “The Court took great care to indicate that while it is denying our writ seeking to prevent IWVGA from collecting this unprecedented fee “at this time”, the Court of Appeal will be watching and prepared to involve itself further if the Authority takes legal action to enforce its June 9, 2021 Resolution. Until that time the order makes it clear that the Court of Appeal understands the importance of the matter and will entertain further requests for relief, including a stay as may be required by IWVGA actions.”

The Fourth District Court of Appeals decision can be found here.


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