Tag Archives: ladwp

DWP using new technology to study groundwater

LADWP conducting Airborne Survey at Owens Lake

Submitted by Amanda Parsons, LADWP spokesperson

LADWP UTILIZING NONINVASIVE STATE-OF-THE-ART TECHNOLOGY TO MAP UNDERGROUND TOPOGRAPHY, PROTECT HABITAT

Bishop, CA – Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) hydrologists are utilizing Airborne Electromagnetic Surveying in a pilot study Saturday, July 25, Sunday, July 26 and Monday, July 27 at Owens Lake near Highway 395 to better understand the groundwater basin beneath the lakebed and protect habitat on the surface during the implementation of the Master Project.

The Airborne Electromagnetic Survey consists of state-of-the-art measuring equipment, resembling a webbed oval dangling 100 feet below a helicopter, sending radio signals into the ground then measuring the returned signal to determine the geological materials. The practice is completely nonintrusive to the landscape and provides scientists with a clearer picture than previously-used underground mapping methods. Traditional underground mapping consists of drilling a series of test holes – up to 1,500 feet deep and up to several  miles apart – across the desired area’s surface, taking samples from deep inside the holes and testing them for a “best guess” look at what lies beneath the surface.

“The data gathered from this pilot study will be useful as we work to better model the Owens Lake groundwater as part of the Master Project,” Eastern Sierra Hydrologist and Project Manager Saeed Jorat, Ph.D. said. “By protecting the landscape while gathering this data, we ensure the safety of the habitat and the species residing there in a cost effective manner.”

Data gathered from the study will be used by LADWP to map the location of bedrock, fault lines and groundwater depth. This information will assist the Department as it works to model the Owens Lake Master Project and protect resources that utilize groundwater in the area – private wells, vegetation and habitat – while also preventing potential land subsidence.

If the pilot study goes well, LADWP will utilize the new technique for future projects in the Eastern Sierra region.

Native American Helicopters LLC (NAH) will be conducting the flights using an Astar 350FX2 helicopter. The helicopter will fly parallel to Highway 395 over the North East corner of Owens Lake for a three day period from approximately 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The equipment will be approximately 100 feet above the surface while in flight. During that time, the helicopter will not fly over the Highway, power lines and other structures so as to protect the safety of all involved during the operation.

Owens Lake Helicopter
Native American LLC helicopter flying the SkyTEM system to obtain geological measurements for LADWP over Owens Lake on July 26, 2015. (Photo by LADWP)
LADWP, owens lake, highway 395, amanda parsons

LA to Continue Irrigation through August

LADWP TO PROVIDE IRRIGATION WATER IN OWENS VALLEY THROUGH AUGUST

Statement provided by the LA DWP:

Bishop, CA – Unexpected summer rainfall has provided sufficient water in the Los Angeles Aqueduct system for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) to continue irrigation in Owens Valley through the end of August. Continued irrigation, in the absence of any savings elsewhere, is only possible because Los Angeles’ extreme reduction in water exports from the Eastern Sierra.

“This weather could not have come at a better time,” Manager of the Los Angeles Aqueduct James Yannotta said. “These rains are providing much-needed water that will help LADWP to continue irrigation through August.”
Earlier in this extremely dry year LADWP recognized that there might be insufficient water supplies from the Los Angeles Aqueduct to meet all water demands in the Owens Valley and in the City of Los Angeles. The Long Term Water Agreement between the City of Los Angeles and Inyo County protects two end-goals: Providing a reliable source of water for Los Angeles and protecting the Owens Valley environment. The Agreement also contemplates the Parties approving a program to provide for reasonable reductions in irrigation water supply for Los Angeles-owned lands in the Owens Valley and for Enhancement and Mitigation (E/M) programs during periods of dry-year water shortages. Consequently, the Technical Group and the Standing Committee have attempted to evaluate and provide reasonable reductions in other areas to reallocate water for irrigation during the 2015 runoff year. Although the City and the County have not yet agreed to any reductions in E/M projects, the City of Los Angeles has almost entirely reduced the Owens Valley water supply to customers during this irrigation season.
The length and intensity of this four-year drought has surprised most water managers and regulators in the Southwest. The intensity of the scant Eastern Sierra snowpack and potential runoff was not fully realized until early April, which left little time to plan for its impacts, forcing the Department to evaluate operations on a virtual real-time basis. With respect to current conditions, the picture continues to be grim for Angelenos as LADWP will experience an 85% reduction from its normal export from the Eastern Sierra this runoff year.
“The only bright spot in our most recent forecasting is that it appears recent rain events provided additional water that we did not anticipate when we released our Annual Operations Plan in April,” Yannotta added. “Even though most, if not all, of the extremely low snowpack has already melted, recent storms are providing unanticipated run-off into the Eastern Sierra that will allow us to continue irrigating longer than we previously expected.”

The 2015 runoff year is unique in that snowpack was the lowest on record, measuring only 4% of normal, but summer precipitation is appearing somewhat above normal. The hydrologic conditions this year are so different from previous years that there isn’t another year from which to draw a fair comparison. As you would expect, the lack of comparable years has created operational challenges.

LADWP recently received preliminary draft runoff data and field information relating to water availability after the storms. Although Department management is verifying all information, LADWP is confident that there is sufficient water for irrigation in Owens Valley through the end of August.

cover photo by Gary Young

ladwp, owens valley, drought 2015, jim yannotta

OVC responds to LA Mayor

Owens Valley Committee Responds to Mayor Garcetti

Owens Valley Committee statement:

“We just made peace with the Owens Valley,” Mayor Garcetti declared in a recent interview with MSNBC reporter Chris Hayes. He went on to state that he wishes to avoid “turning city folk against rural folk,” that Los Angeles has “plenty of water,” and that using water to mitigate dust on the Owens Lake is “stupid.”

We wish it were so. But however much the City’s Mayor wants it, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) continues to wage intense battles to supply a thirsty city.

Instead of a historic truce, we have seen politics as usual. In making his incorrect statements, Mayor Garcetti unwittingly provides yet another example of the problems inherent in Los Angeles’s colonial rule of Owens Valley. Political leaders in Los Angeles rely entirely on the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power for information. Owens Valley residents cannot vote in LA elections and have no elected representatives to provide accurate information to the Mayor and to advocate for our interests.

Without such a voice, peace remains elusive. On April 27, 2015, LADWP announced it would cut off all water to the Valley’s ranchers and farmers. With only three days notice, LADWP not only threatened livelihoods, but also the Valley’s economy, native animals and plants, and its dwindling groundwater supply – all of which depend on the water that flows onto the fields of farmers and ranchers.

The Inyo-LA Long Term Water Agreement – the settlement agreement to which LA is legally bound – does not allow LADWP to unilaterally cut off water. Yet only a threat by Inyo County to seek an immediate injunction forced LADWP to back down, proving, yet again, that it will continue to “turn city folk against rural folk.”

Not only has peace not been made, LADWP is defying the Mayor’s widely publicized goals of “sustainability” and “reducing dependence on imported water.” The Mayor referred to LADWP’s plans to take water that would otherwise restore life in portions of Owens Lake, and send it down the aqueduct instead. If implemented, this plan will increase Los Angeles’s dependence on Owens Valley water instead of reducing it. Mayor Garcetti spoke of sharing Owens Lake water with the Owens Valley, but we have yet to hear that from LADWP. The new wells LADWP plans to drill will also increase Los Angeles’s dependency. While the Mayor calls for sustainability, it is exploitation as usual in the Owens Valley.

Despite claims that LA has “plenty of water,” LADWP continues to dig out seeps and springs, and to pump groundwater that is not being recharged. Meanwhile, vegetation in the Valley is drying up; fish and wildlife habitat is shrinking; farmers and ranchers must cut back crops and cattle; and dust still spews from the Owens Lake.

Some water on the lake bed is essential, and far from “stupid.” Owens Lake was the largest source of particulate pollution in North America, producing lung-scarring dust laced with toxic heavy metals. While there has been significant reduction in the amount of dust from Owens Lake, there are still too many days the dust levels exceed federal and state standards. Water not only keeps the dust down; it creates habitat for birds and other animals, and it covers – without destroying – historical artifacts and markers.

Given all this, we must question whether the “water wars” have indeed reached their end. We appreciate the Mayor’s optimism, and support for water conservation more generally, but achieving an effective truce will require more than good wishes. It requires action – not only on the part of City and County leaders, but by LADWP. For a City with “plenty of water,” and leaders truly hoping to bridge the divide between “city folk and rural folk,” such action should not be too hard.

The Owens Valley Committee is a non-profit (501c3) organization seeking just and sustainable management of Owens Valley land and water resources. We envision a valley in which existing open space is protected, historic land uses sustained, and depleted groundwater reserves and surface water flows restored as Los Angeles phases out its dependence on Owens Valley water.

cover photo by Gary Young.

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DWP issues post-standing committee statement

DWP issues statement

The June 4th Inyo/LA standing committee meeting was dominated by a shared sense of cooperation between Inyo County and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.  Working through another year of drought the two parties agreed to reduce water to the McNalley enhancement/mitigation project and Warren Lake while securing irrigation water through July.

In response to the June 4, 2015 Inyo County/Los Angeles Standing Committee meeting, The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has issued the following statement:

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) is pleased with the outcome of the June 4 Standing Committee meeting. In these times of unprecedented drought, we are encouraged by the collaboration exercised by the Inyo County community. This shared sacrifice by all, including the City of Los Angeles who itself is receiving an 85 percent reduction in LA Aqueduct water this runoff year, will allow local ranchers the ability to irrigate their lands through July. LADWP and the other MOU parties are working toward finalizing an agreement (hopefully by early THIS week) that will save up to 4,000 AF of water toward additional irrigation in the Owens Valley. If additional water savings are realized on Owens Lake this Fall and are agreed by Great Basin, State Lands, and California Department of Fish and Wildlife, then more water can be made available for continuing irrigation into August and later into the irrigation season.  We look forward to continued constructive collaboration with the community and more positive outcomes from future negotiations.”

The next Inyo/LA standing committee meeting is set for July 24th in Los Angeles.

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Standing Committee meets Thursday

Inyo/LA Standing Committee meeting Thursday

The Inyo County/Los Angeles Standing Committee meets Thursday, June 4th in the Board of Supervisors Room, Independence.  Thursday’s agenda includes a runoff and operations update looking at “Water availability for Owens Valley and Los Angeles”.  There are two action items before the Standing Committee, the first looking to approve a program for reasonable reductions in irrigation water supply for Los Angeles owned lands in the Owens Valley, for recreation and wildlife projects, for projects implemented as part of the Inyo/Los Angeles Long Term Water Agreement, projects associated with the 1997 memorandum of Understanding, and for enhancement/mitigation projects.

The second action item is asking the Standing Committee to consider the approval of reductions in water supplied to the McNally Ponds and Pasture Enhancement/Mitigation Project.

Time will also be set aside for public comments.  The Thursday Inyo/Los Angeles standing committee meeting will begin at 11am in the Board of Supervisors Room, County administrative center, 224 North Edwards Street, Independence.

cover photo by Gary Young

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Water fight!

Tech Group looks at water cuts

The Inyo County/Los Angeles department of water and power technical group met Monday morning in Bishop to discuss potential cuts to “in valley” water uses that would spare water for irrigation. The meeting included an update on the grim runoff projections with the LADWP letting everyone know that they will not export any water from the Owens Valley into Los Angeles during the first half of the 2015-2016 runoff year, and most likely not until November, 2015. Noting that for the entire runoff year only 42,400 acre feet will be exported. This is due to the fourth consecutive year of extreme drought. How ugly is the picture?…the LADWP estimates this years runoff to be just 36% of normal, compared to 52% last year.

The grim runoff picture means less water will be available for in valley uses, including irrigation and court ordered enhancement/mitigation projects. A major portion of Mondays meeting focused on potential areas where water could be saved to make sure irrigation to local lessee continues. On April 27th the LADWP had written ranchers notifying them that all irrigation would end on May 1st, that order was later lifted for lands in the Bishop cone. At the time the LADWP’s spokesperson Amanda Parsons said, “Collaboration with local partners” will allow the LADWP flexibility with how they distribute water for in-valley uses.

On Monday, officials discussed several areas where water could be shifted. The areas discussed included cuts to Klondike Lake, Goose Lake, Owens dry lake and the Lower Owens River Project (LORP). Any potential cuts would have to be approved by both the Inyo Board of Supervisors and LA officials, and any adjustments to the LORP would have to be cleared by those in the MOU group. Also the State lands commission and the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution control district would have a voice in any adjustments to water going on the dry lake.

Other meeting notes:
Wilkerson Rancher Gary Gilbert is claiming the LADWP violated the long term water agreement when they cut water to his Wilkerson lease. The DWP said their action to cut irrigation was not a violation.

Daris Moxley questioned why the McNally Ponds mitigation project has only received water 7 times since 1991.

Sally Manning questioned the accuracy of testing being done at well 385 located near 5 Bridges Road north of Bishop. Manning spoke passionately about the wells negative effect on fish slough.

Allan Bacoch from the Big Pine tribe noted that the Big Pine area is “being pumped heavily and there are clear impacts.”

And a representative from the Lone Pine tribe noted that pumping has dropped ground water levels 10 feet in the past year.

The discussion will continue at Tuesdays Inyo Board of Supervisors meeting and Thursday at the Standing Committee meeting.  The Standing Committee meeting will begin at 10am at the Lone Pine Visitors Center for a field trip to the Owens Dry Lake and Lone Pine High School Farm, then reconvene at the Board Room at 1pm.

cover photo by Gary Young. www.garyyoungphotography.com

ladwp, eastern sierra news, drought 2015, inyo county

Historic Drought Requires Historic Solutions

Historic Drought Requires Historic Solutions

Op-Ed by Amanda Parsons, LADWP Spokesperson

When gazing at the Sierra Nevada Mountains this year there is a harsh reality staring back: California is in the midst of a four-year drought – a drought so dire that it is unparalleled by any in the recorded history of the State. Snow pack in the Eastern Sierra was measured at only 4 percent of normal and runoff this year is only 36 percent of normal, far shattering the previous lowest year.
Many in the community are pleased that virtually no water from the LA Aqueduct will be exported south of Owens Lake, likely until November. But the harsh reality is, this year, there simply is not enough water to meet all of our obligations in the Owens Valley for the environment, local agriculture, tribal lands, irrigation, stockwater, recreation, and dust mitigation on Owens Lake. This reality is further complicated by the fact that required legal obligations and stipulated judgments have bound the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) to use what little water is available to fulfill certain mandates, causing others to receive less.
For those who attended the County Board of Supervisors workshop meeting last Tuesday to discuss the lack of water, we want to thank you for voicing your opinions and making yourself heard. Constructive suggestions were brought up by the County Supervisors and the community.
Jim Yannotta, LADWP Manager of Aqueduct, is pleased to report that with cooperation of the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District (Great Basin), irrigation to LADWP leaseholders will not be shut off on May 1st as previously considered. This collaboration between Great Basin and LADWP allowed us to reach a mutually agreed upon solution for water savings on Owens Lake this spring, providing additional water for irrigation to continue for the near term, and helping local agriculture and the Owens Valley economy in the process.
This agreement with Great Basin couldn’t have been achieved without the help of the community and their participation in this complicated discussion. As the discussion continues, there is opportunity for further water savings that could be made available for irrigation or other uses. However, several questions remain in the community – questions about LADWP’s timing, reasoning, and numbers.
We understand that the timing of our letter to our leaseholders notifying them of our need to shut off irrigation water appears to have been done with too short of notice.
LADWP wants to emphasize that staff made efforts prior to the release of that letter to alert our stakeholders of the impacts this drought would have on local operations. A letter was sent to all our leaseholders in March informing them that irrigation amounts would be greatly reduced this year. We also invited a number of the members of the ranching community to our Bishop office almost two weeks ago once the final runoff numbers for this year were calculated showing an extreme shortage of water and lack of water for irrigation. The Department’s Annual Owens Valley Operations Plan is due to Inyo County on April 20 each year. Immediately, discussion with Inyo County Water Department and County officials ensued regarding the severity of the situation.
Continuing irrigation on our lease lands at the level it occurred during April would leave the Department short of water to meet all demands and our many legal obligations. LADWP staff worked to find solutions, but once the reality of the long list of legal obligations the Department faces came in to play, we had to show in the Operations Plan where the extremely limited amount of water would be used on LA-owned lands. Unless we neglected our legal requirements to the environment and for clean air by controlling dust on Owens Lake, we would not have enough water available for both the agricultural/ranching economy and environmental obligations in this Valley. We needed to inform all of the lessees as soon as possible about this dire situation.
As for our numbers provided in the Operations Plan, every year water engineers across the globe account for a certain amount of losses from snow pack to tap. These losses can be attributed to ground infiltration, evaporation, plant transpiration, etc. This year, LADWP’s Water Engineers predicted a loss of 119,400 acre feet as this water seeps into the ground of the Owens Valley, evaporates into the air of the Owens Valley, is transpired by plants in the Owens Valley, and is used by private landholders in the Owens Valley.
To put that into context, during the last runoff year – the second-lowest year ever – 147,000 acre feet was lost due to these miscellaneous uses and losses. The Inyo/Los Angeles Water Agreement signed in 1991 by both the City of Los Angeles and the County accounted for 122,000 acre feet for these uses and losses. Both the City and County have operated under this mutually agreed upon expectation, derived from historical averages, for over twenty years. LADWP’s predicted loss amount is considerably less than last year’s actual losses. Meaning LADWP’s meager predictions for available water in the Valley and for export may be further reduced as the year progresses.
Each Annual Operations Plan is calculated using a runoff-year, April 1 through March 31. In order to account for our annual allotment numbers, predictions must be made for the second half of the runoff year, October through March. In our predictions LADWP is forecasting normal winter precipitation levels during the remainder of this runoff year. The 2015-16 Plan states LADWP will deliver 42,000 acre feet of water from the Eastern Sierra to LA this runoff year (10,000 of which is already in storage from previous years and is not a result of current runoff). This represents only about 15 percent of the Eastern Sierra water that is typically exported to Los Angeles. However, if we do not achieve normal precipitation levels during that period, then less water will come down the creeks next winter and less will be available to the Owens Valley and Los Angeles.
Although this reality is far from ideal for any of us, it has resulted in a positive outcome to address this critical situation in the near term thanks to responses from the community, the Inyo County Board of Supervisors and Great Basin.
For better or worse, Los Angeles is connected to the Eastern Sierra by the aqueduct that binds us. We are a huge part of the Valley’s history, the reason for its pristine present, and a valuable partner in the shaping of its successful future.
This is the worst drought on record. Los Angeles is feeling its impacts just like the Owens Valley, and the rest of California. We are all in this together. If we continue to work collaboratively, listen to one another and accept the current reality, together we can develop productive solutions to this unprecedented situation. Let’s make history together.

Amanda Parsons is the Public Relations Representative from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power in the Owens Valley. If you have any questions regarding this issue or any LADWP operations, please don’t hesitate to contact her. She can be reached at 760-873-0264 or
Amanda.Parsons@ladwp.com.

ladwp, drought 2015, owens valley news, eastern sierra news, amanda parsons

Ranch water will flow

LADWP will not cut irrigation water

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has rescinded a proposed irrigation water cut off to Owens Valley lessees. Just prior to Tusday’s Inyo supervisors water workshop word came down of the LADWP’s proposal to cut water to local ranchers May 1st due to the severity of this year’s record drought. Now May 1st has arrived and LADWP spokesperson Amanda Parsons is confirming that the water will continue to flow to local ranchers. Parsons credits the “Collaboration with local partners” for allowing the LADWP flexibility with how they distribute water for invalley uses. The LADWP is under legal obligation to provide water for various enhancement and mitigation projects, including but not limited to the Owens Lake and Lower Owens River Project.

Monday the Inyo County/Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Technical Group will meet at 8:30 a.m. in the DWP Multi-Purpose Room at 300 Mandich Street, Bishop. The meeting will include a discussion of the 2015-2016 Annual Owens Valley Operations Plan, and a discussion of water distribution for irrigation and other environmental projects in the Owens Valley. The public will be offered the opportunity to comment on each agenda item prior to any action. There will also be a public comment period to open the Monday meeting.

 

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The Owens Valley Committee Meets

Letter from the OVC:
The Owens Valley Committee met Wednesday to discuss short-term solutions for getting water to the valley’s ranchers. The group called this emergency meeting in reaction to Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s letter of April 27, which notified valley ranchers they’d be cut off from all irrigation water starting May 1.
OVC has been aware for quite some time that ranchers are being squeezed by LADWP. In its December 2014 newsletter, OVC wrote,
LADWP has long seen ranch water as a waste. Over the last several years, they have attempted to coerce ranchers and farmer to reduce water use by financial incentives, and have successfully petitioned the County to reduce irrigation duty to 3 acre feet by the use of sprinklers on some parcels. ‘Water conservation’ has become a euphemism for exporting more water to Los Angeles.’ ‘Saving’ ranch water isn’t a good thing in the Owens Valley. When a rancher irrigates with ditches, riparian habitat is formed, not only along the ditch, but through ‘tail water,’ or water at the end of the ditch that extends beyond the official irrigated parcel. [‘Saving’ water] eliminates tail water and destroys riparian and meadow habitat that has been irrigated for decades, as well as killing the tree and shrub hedgerows between fields.
Pressuring ranchers about water use is nothing new for LADWP. Deciding to cut off irrigation water entirely, however, is one of LADWP’s most obvious, glaring violations of the Long Term Water Agreement to date. Though LADWP rescinded this action on April 29, OVC is seriously concerned that LADWP has set an alarming precedent for future moves against Owens Valley agriculture. Ranchers and farmers are important contributors to Owens Valley’s economy, as well as stewards of the land. Agriculture is the second largest economic driver in Inyo County. $19.8 million in economic contribution, or 77% of total agricultural production, is dependent on irrigation. Ranchers’ entire livelihoods are at risk if they do not receive the water promised by the Long Term Water Agreement. Bankruptcy of ranch owners means long term “water savings” for LADWP because there is no guarantee that the DWP will spread water as effectively as Owens Valley ranchers doing their day to day jobs.
Confusing and inconsistent numbers regarding water storage and supply were circulated at the “Talking Water Workshop” on April 28th in the Inyo County Board of Supervisors chambers. The OVC would like to know the exact figures regarding water amounts LADWP has in storage at Crowley, Pleasant Valley, and Tinnemaha Reservoirs. DWP is planning to send about 42,000 acre feet to Los Angeles this year. The reservoirs upstream of the Owens Valley could supply some of that water to ranchers instead.
Some options the Owens Valley Committee discussed Wednesday were:
1. Lowering the minimum flow in the Lower Owens River Project (LORP) from 40 to as low as 30 cubic feet per second (cfs) for the remainder of the run-off year. This water would be reallocated to in-valley use.
2. Reductions in flows to the Owens Lake delta during the irrigation season. This water would be reallocated for in-valley use.

OVC will only consider options that guarantee re-allocated water remains in the Owens Valley.  The Owens Valley has been in an artificial drought since the early 1900s when the City of Los Angeles began exporting water south. This drought intensified in 1972 when LADWP began heavily pumping groundwater and sending it down a second barrel of the aqueduct. Predictably, increased water export spurred increased growth—including water-guzzling lawns, ponds, golf courses, swimming pools, etc.—in the naturally arid Los Angeles basin and surrounding area, and created more of a thirst for Owens Valley water. Like many western cities, Los Angeles has created a problem for itself by actively encouraging a “need” for more and more water.
The Owens Valley Committee appreciates any actions taken to cut back on water usage in Los Angeles—but the City needs to do more. In deciding to issue a letter to Owens Valley ranchers cutting off their access to irrigation water on May 1, LADWP took unilateral and unquestionably illegal action in direct violation of the Long Term Water Agreement and 1991 EIR. This is not a legitimate option. The Owens Valley has been living in an artificial LA-imposed drought for more than a century. The burden of sacrifice during this state-wide drought should not fall on the shoulders of Owens Valley’s ranchers, thereby causing more damage to the valley’s already severely depleted ecosystem. The burden of sacrifice should fall on the shoulders of the City of Los Angeles.

cover photo by Gary Young.

ladwp, inyo county, drought 2015, owens valley committee, eastern sierra news

LADWP shutting off irrigation May 1

LA cutting off water to lessees Friday

The Inyo Board of supervisor invited everyone to the table to talk water.  A water workshop was scheduled as part to their regular meeting Tuesday.  Monday night Inyo supervisors were made aware of notice passed along to local LADWP lessees that irrigation would halt Friday, May 1st.  The Los Angeles Department of water and power giving lessees less than a weeks notice of their directive.  Inyo County Administrative Officer Kevin Carunchio responds.

“ Most of the LADWP lessees in the area, received communication that all irrigation water, weather supplied by surface water like creeks, canals, or pumped from the ground, will be shut off May 1st. Obviously that spells nothing but disaster, economic, agriculture and environmental disaster. For the lessees and for the wildlife that lives on those leases, and for the ascetics of the Owenes Valley.”

The Inyo County CAO and the board of supervisors see the move by the LADWP as a clear violation of the long term water agreement.

“Yesterday the board met and authorized correspondence and appropriate legal action. The board did move forward with the workshop, and had a spirited, constructive, and heart felt conversation about how to use the water the dwp has said it will leave in the valley.” Said Caruchio.

Inyo Supervisor Rick Pucci opened yesterdays workshop by questioning the LADWP’s willingness to work cooperatively in light of their bold step to cut irrigation waters.  Carunchio sees the move as an unfair blow to Owens Valley agriculture.  “Everyone there yesterday recognizes the need for reductions of water use, that’s just a reality in this type of drought year, but to heap it all on agriculture does not seem wise or fair. When you look at it, some of the ag leases are the biggest win,win situations out there in terms of environmental enhancement, wildlife habitat, dust control and economic influx”

Citing pending litigation, LADWP officials did not comment directly on the topic at Tuesdays workshop.

cover photo by Gary Young.

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Inyo Supervisors Talking Water

Inyo Supervisors hosting water workshop

The Inyo Board of Supervisors are holding a workshop during Tuesday’s meeting titled “Talking Water Workshop” to discuss water availability. In light of the severity of present drought conditions and the dire shortfall in water for in-valley uses proposed in LADWP’s Proposed Annual Operations Plan, the Board desires input from all segments of the community concerning Owens Valley water availability and use. The Board is inviting representatives of the Department of Water and Power, the Tribal Councils, signatories to the 1997 MOU concerning the Inyo/Los Angeles Long-Term Water Agreement, local water districts, LADWP lessees, State and federal agencies, parties participating in the Owens Lake Master Project Advisory Committee, and the public to join the Board in their discussions.

The workshop is scheduled for Tuesday, April 28th at 1:30 p.m., in the Board of Supervisors Room, at the County Administrative Center in Independence.

The Board encourages those who are interested in learning about and providing information concerning the impacts and mitigation of reduced water availability in Inyo County to attend the workshop and share with the Board your comments and ideas.

COVER PHOTO BY GARY YOUNG

http://www.garyyoungphotography.com/

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