U.S. NAVY (NAWSCL) ASSERTS federal reserve water rights – in caps – in Letters to IWVGA Including the May 2019 Navy Demographics and Water Requirements Report. (Update 9/24/2021)

It appears the Navy’s assertion was accepted without question, and the GA awarded an allocation of 7,650 acre-feet to the Navy for itself and the civilian DOD employees who live off-base, and who are all either renters or contractors, property owners with wells, or property owners in the Indian Wells Valley Water District (IWVWD) which also serves the City of Ridgecrest as well as many residents in Kern County surrounding the City.

The Navy’s 2020 usage report stated that less than 1500 acre-feet was pumped from the Indian Wells Valley basin in 2020 (Report to come).

Much of the work performed by the IWVGA in preparation for the approval of the final Groundwater Sustainability Plan occured after the July 4-5 2019 earthquakes at China Lake and during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns. Public meetings were closed for most of 2020.

September 8, 2021, Statement from Mojave Pistachios published in The News Review: Mojave Pistachios, Nugent Farms comment to IWVGA.

“The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority (Authority) has failed the Indian Wells Valley and now wants the ratepayers of the Indian Wells Valley Water District (Water District) to bail them out.” – Mojave Pistachios

Please see IWVGA Class Action for in-depth information:

IWVGA CLASS ACTION, For Attorneys and Interested Parties: Information, News and Resources (Updated 9/25/2021)


February 19, 2020, from the letter signed by Capt. Paul M. Dale, Commanding Officer, NAWSCL to IWVGA

Item 6: “The Navy appreciates that IWVGWA recognizes the unique position of NAWSCL’s Federal Reserve Water Rights (FRWR) dating back in time to when the base was established in 1943. The SGMA statute itself recognizes that FRWRs shall be respected in full, and in the case of any conflict, federal law will prevail. CA Water Code Section 10720.3(d). IWVGWA has also recognized the fact that there is no waiver of sovereign immunity subjecting Navy to GW regulation, pumping limitations, or fee assessment. Despite these unique federal legal limitations, NAWSCL intendes to be a good neighbor and work cooperatively with the IWVGWA.” – Capt. Paul Dale, U.S. Navy letter to IWVGA

Full letter can be downloaded or viewed below (scroll down for each page).

June 17, 2019, from the letter signed by Capt. Paul M. Dale, Commanding Officer, NAWSCL to IWVGA

In November 2018, the Navy provided a figure of 2,041 acre-feet per year as the amount of water the installation could agree to use under a GSP. Be advised, however, that the Navy’s Federal Reserve Water Right (FRWR) is not limited to 2,041 acre-feet per year. The Navy’s FRWR dates back to the establishment of the base in 1943, and as you are well aware, SGMA does not impact FRWRs. The Navy’s actual FRWR would likely be established through litigation, which the Navy hopes to avoid by having all pumpers in the Basin agree to an allocated amount.” – Capt. Paul Dale, U.S. Navy Letter to IWVGA

  • Historic Water Use in the Indian Wells Valley (NAWSCL) (Number of pages: 2)
  • Includes “Navy Demographics and Water Requirements” at NAWS China Lake, by Matthew L. Boggs, Navair Ranges, May 2019 (Number of pages: 28)
  • In 2017, the Navy reported 538 personnel designated by the Defense Manpower Data Reporting System
  • 538 Military Per DMDCRS “Active Duty Family Sponsors & Eligible Dependents Report by Base”. (Verify 60/40 on base/off base)
  • 4785 Civilian (off-base)
  • 1879 Contractor (off-base)
  • 3500 Dependent (off-base)
  • 10,859 Total
  • See Appendix A-5 China Lake Staffing Data on Page 23.
  • In 2020, the IWVGA allocated 7,650 acre-feet of water pumping rights to Navy and its “civilian, contractor and dependents” who live off base and are either renters, private property owners with water rights via wells, private property owners who live within the IWV Water District including those living in City of Ridgecrest.

In 2020, the Navy reported pumping approximately 1,500 acre-feet of water from the IWV Groundwater Basin.

The Navy has created a special class of protected water rights superior to those private property owners who are not DOD “employees, contractors and dependents”. – Roadrunner395.com

Department of the Interior, Statements to Congress on H.R. 4458 (McCarthy) and S.1230 (Barrasso)

July 26 2017 Statement for the Record U.S. Department of the Interior (S. 1230-Barrasso)

The Water Rights Protection Act of 2017 (did not pass)

September 24, 2021 Please Note: According to the above Statements by the Department of the Interior that were made to Congress in re: H.R. 4458 AND S.1230, the U.S. Military has over 14 million acres on BLM Public Lands Status Withdrawn. Navy’s precedent-setting assertion of “FRWRs”, not “frwrs”, indicates this is a ploy to insert 14,000,000 acres of the Western United States into a position wherein they will be in direct conflict with the property owners and water users “outside the fenceline”. The U.S. Navy is fully aware that this strategy has been exposed, is unprecedented, and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has been notified.

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