Stars and Stripes 19 Dec, 2020 14:15 am

A pistachio tycoon picks a fight with the US Navy

A pistachio tycoon picks a fight with the US Navy
In 2019, China Lake said one of its top concerns was encroachment on its groundwater supply, based on a recent assessment of the aquifer's use, and implied that water shortages could mean the base would have to shut down.

The Conaways bought 4 acres and built a house in the adjacent town of Inyokern, which like Ridgecrest is nestled in the Indian Wells Valley, a roughly 11,000-square-mile stretch of desert in the eastern Sierra Nevada about three hours north of Los Angeles.In the arid, isolated Indian Wells Valley, underground aquifers are the only reliable sources of fresh water.This past September, Ridgecrest announced that, as part of a groundwater sustainability plan set to take effect in January in compliance with state law, all farmers would have to pay costly new fees to pump water from the Indian Wells Valley basin.Mick Gleason is the supervisor for District 1, which includes Ridgecrest and much of the Indian Wells Valley.

If not, SGMA stipulates that he'll have to turn water use over to the state Department of Water Resources, the agency that rated the Indian Wells Valley basin as critically overdrafted." The legal disputes under way in the Indian Wells Valley offer an early taste of what might happen throughout California as various local authorities turn SGMA's broad principles into actionable demands.

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