By Patricia Farris News Review Publisher–
The regular meeting of the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority (IWVGA) began at 11am on August 10 following a one-hour closed session. Items discussed in the closed session included real estate property negotiations and existing litigation: IWVGA vs The Inyokern Community Services District, Searles Valley Minerals, Inc. vs IWVGA, and Mojave Pistachios LLC vs IWVGA.
No reportable action took place according to Legal Counsel, Keith LeMieux.
Alan Christensen, County Administrative Office Manager, spoke of recent comments made by the IWVGA Board Members at their July board meeting. Christensen accuses the District Board Members of statements being made that are not based in fact. He refers to Stan Rajtora, the Water District Representative on the GA Board, as repeating his desires to see the Annual GA Report stating that it has been pulled off of the agenda.
Christensen contends that the Annual Report was prepared months ago but the Water District staff and attorney asked that it be pulled so they could work out questions that had been brought up about legal conflicts. Christensen also commented on District Board Member Mallory Boyd’s question about the GA audit. Rajtora complained that although the audit came through, it took a lot longer than it should have and it was the first time they had done a real audit. Christensen requested that Rajtora answer letters that he could point to in order to back up his assertions on the audit. He continued his criticism of the district by saying, “There are many other statements made with regard to the GA that I will not have time to comment on today. It is wrong for the Water District Board Members to repeatedly misstate and misrepresent the business of the Groundwater Authority. These statements have the effect of confusing the public. This kind of behavior has been going on for some time and it should stop.”
Rajtora on a regular basis, when reporting to the district on the regular GA meetings, presses for fiscal accountability and transparency. The Board continually thanks Rajtora for pressing the GA for accountability to the public. During public comment rate payers frequently speak to their appreciation for Rajtora’s willingness to take a stand, saying, “He’s the only GA Board member who does not just rubber stamp everything the staff does.”
The GA Board voted unanimously to award the Rose Valley monitoring well drilling process to the Garrison Brothers Well Services. Jeff Helsley spoke as a part of Resource Water Manager Steve Johnson’s report. He stated that out of the list of prioritized funding proposals to the Navy Coastal Royalties, selected for funding was the project of the installation of monitoring wells to allow gathering of data on the subsurface flow from the Rose Valley area into the Indian Wells Valley Basin.
The data will be used to update the hydro space geologic conceptual model of the Basin and ultimately lead to updating and refining the groundwater model. It will also be used to update the Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP). The amount of the bid was $220,360.
Relative to filling data gaps, as part of Johnson’s report, Jean Moran said, “There are some existing Saw Mill Wells north of Pearsonville. We have requested access to these wells from the California State Lands Commission. This would also help fill in a data gap for water levels in this area.”
For further information on Groundwater Authority the meetings are streamed live https://ridgecrest-ca.gov/369/Watch (4 second delay) or on YouTube at https://www.yutube.com/cityofridgecrest/live (22 second delay) and are also available for playback after the meeting.