Thursday Top of the Scroll: Desperate for water, a desert city hopes to build a pipeline to the California Aqueduct
After decades of unrestricted pumping in the rain-starved northwestern corner of the Mojave Desert, the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Basin Authority has the distinction of managing one of the most critically overdrawn aquifers in California. Now, the region is in an uproar over a proposal that the authority sees as a way out of its groundwater crisis, one that critics say would give priority to urban consumers in the city of Ridgecrest and the adjacent Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake over farmers and mining operations. It’s a $200-million, 50-mile-long pipeline system that would move water from the California Aqueduct in California City — over arid desert mountains — to a storage tank in the urban center of Ridgecrest. … The pipeline plan has also sparked challenges from environmentalists and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.