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The IWVGA's Use Of Public Funds Raises Serious Questions

The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority’s (IWVGA) June 20th opinion piece raises serious questions.

Why is the IWVGA spending taxpayer dollars on an opinion piece touting their attorney’s role in the Las Posas Basin groundwater case settlement in Ventura County? Was it the IWVGA’s $105/acre-foot Extraction Fee or the IWVGA’s $2,130/acre-foot Replenishment Fee that footed the bill for the staff time that was involved?

If, as the opinion piece says, the IWVGA is serious about wanting to “look to Las Posas as a model to settle some of our problems” here in the Indian Wells Valley Basin, will the IWVGA adopt the following key aspects of the Las Posas settlement?

  • Will the IWVGA agree, like the Fox Canyon GMA did in Las Posas, that its GSP will be subject to complete review to correct defects, including an inaccurate sustainable yield, subject to court oversight?

  • Will the IWVGA revise its water allocation system, which gives farmers zero allocation, so that here, like in Las Posas, all overlying users are given a pumping allocation?

  • Will the IWVGA grant, as planned in Las Posas, many overlying users an additional “variance” on top of their allocations to allow additional production?

  • Will the IWVGA allow current allowable pumping (initial operating yield) to exceed the safe yield, as agreed to in Las Posas?

  • Will the IWVGA defer planned pumping reductions for the next five years, while projects to enhance yield are developed, as planned in Las Posas?

  • Will the IWVGA craft its system of projects so that there would be no need for pumping reductions if projects proceed as planned?

  • Will the IWVGA rescind its $2,130/acre-foot Replenishment Fee and adopt an approximately $200/acre-foot assessment on allocations, as envisioned in Las Posas, to fund these projects?

  • Will the IWVGA structure its system in a way that the avoidance of pumping reductions is not dependent on imported water, as contemplated in Las Posas?

  • Will the IWVGA set up its governance structure like the Fox Canyon GMA Board, which has an agricultural representative and is comprised of parties that actually pump groundwater?

  • Will the IWVGA elevate the role of our Policy Advisory Committee (PAC) and Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), so that they are true analytic bodies that will provide detailed written recommendations on all important basin management decisions? Will the IWVGA actually listen to the members of our community? Will the IWVGA agree, like Fox Canyon GMA did, that if the IWVGA fails to follow a PAC or TAC recommendation, it must explain its decision in writing, subject to the court’s oversight?

The community deserves answers.

Rod Stiefvater, Mojave Pistachios

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