Water managers trying to bring groundwater into balance in the severely overdrafted Indian Wells Valley basin near Ridgecrest laid out a draft plan last month that would essentially mean the end of large-scale agriculture in that desert region.

“We are giving options to (ag) pumpers so they understand they have a limited future here and can make the best decisions for their businesses,” said Kern County Supervisor Mick Gleason, who represents the area and sits on the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority board.

Last week, several ag companies fired back with a lawsuit.

It is the first lawsuit related to the state’s new groundwater law in Kern County, though the plaintiffs are quick to point out that this is not an “adjudication” lawsuit and that neither the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority nor its draft Groundwater Sustainability Plan are named in the lawsuit.

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