The Owens Valley groundwater basin is in need of more attention. It has been deemed by the State Department of Water Resources (DWR) as being a high-priority basin and will require an expensive management plan to be paid for by ratepayers to save the basin from overdraft.
The Owens Valley Groundwater Authority has drafted a letter asking the DWR to reconsider the rating and to follow its own guidance when making that determination.
Originally, the Authority was going to ask to have the rating changed from high to low, but is now asking for the ruling to be revisited.
The rating game is part of Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 that requires groundwater to be sustainably managed over a long period. Groundwater that is pumped regularly and annually cannot harm water quality, deplete surface water, create land subsidence or have any adverse impacts. California was one of the last holdouts of unregulated groundwater management before the Act’s passage.