Concerns about the proposed groundwater sustainability plan for a basin that includes parts of Kern, Inyo and San Bernardino counties prompted a request for adjudication that is scheduled for a court meeting on Nov. 19, which is also the deadline for anyone claiming groundwater rights to join the lawsuit.
Mojave Pistachios, LLC filed paperwork to initiate a groundwater adjudication for the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Basin. The lawsuit seeks “a judgment to comprehensively determine and adjudicate all groundwater rights in the Basin and to provide a physical solution for the perpetual and continuous management of the Basin.”
Mojave Pistachios has refused to pay fees the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority (IWVGA) outlined in its Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP). A second company, Searles Valley Minerals also has objected to IWVGA’s fees. The 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act requires local authorities to develop and implement GSPs. In 2015, the legislature added provisions granting those who claim water rights in a basin a legal strategy to challenge a GSP.
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“Comprehensive groundwater adjudications are very complex and dynamic court proceedings,” said Ryan Endean, a spokesperson for DWR. There are currently three other basins with comprehensive adjudications listed on DWR’s website, Indian Wells Valley is the most recent.
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