Tag Archives: OWENS VALLEY WATER

LADWP FIXING PAIUTE WATER PIPE

LADWP to get started on the replacement of a water pipe crucial to agriculture on the Big Pine Paiute Reservation

Posted by Seth Conners

According to a press release from Amanda Parson at DWP, at Tuesday’s Los Angeles Board of Water and Power Commissioners meeting, a number of members of the Big Pine Paiute Tribe and other tribal advocates appealed to the board members to take action to repair a failing 75-year-old irrigation pipe that provides water to tribal lands in the Owens Valley during the general public comment portion of the agenda. Leaks along the 1300 foot, 18 inch line, constructed around 1940 by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, have greatly diminished the line’s ability to provide water for irrigation of the tribe’s reservation land. Issues over ownership of the line and future responsibility for its repair and maintenance had slowed addressing the situation. Although in recent months, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) had agreed to make the repairs pending resolution of these issues.

 

During the course of the public comment, Commissioner Christina Noonan was so moved by the heartfelt stories and concerns for the welfare of the tribal members that she offered to personally cover the cost of the pipe repair in order to make water available this irrigation season. She commented, “As a long-time representative of the City of LA on the LA-Inyo Standing committee, I understand both sides of the issues, and I am concerned that poor communications between the parties is prohibiting much needed action, so I am ready to resolve this today.” As the issue was not on the Board agenda, no action by the Board was able to be taken on the matter.

 

Following the Board meeting, LADWP General Manager David H. Wright directed staff to take immediate steps to fix the failing pipeline without using the Commissioner’s generous donation. Wright said, “Both the LADWP and the Big Pine Paiute Tribe of the Owens Valley are concerned that the pipeline be repaired as quickly as possible to prevent another year of major losses due to leakage. While LADWP had already previously offered to pay to fix the pipe as part of a mutual agreement, it is clear that we cannot wait to resolve broader issues surrounding future responsibilities quickly enough. In the spirit of cooperation, we will expedite the repair or replacement of the failing portions of the irrigation pipe at our own cost, as we had originally offered. We will continue discussions with the tribe and the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs regarding the underlying ownership, maintenance responsibilities and other issues at a future time.”

LADWP

LADWP to maximize local water spreading

Posted by Seth Conners

According to a press release from LADWP’s Amanda Parsons, During the Inyo County/Los Angeles Standing Committee earlier this week, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) announced plans to maximize the spread of water in the Owens Valley this year to levels not seen since the wettest year on record, 1983-84.

The above average snowpack levels, registering north of 200 percent of normal to date, are expected to provide ample water supply for both the Eastern Sierra region and the LA Aqueduct. Runoff calculations from the Eastern Sierra are anticipated to be in the range of 900 to 1 million acre feet (AF) of water.

Due to the ample water supply, LADWP will be able to meet all water needs throughout Long Valley and Inyo County. The spread of this water is expected to improve local vegetation and groundwater levels, representing a significant recharge of the Owens Valley aquifer. Given the abundance of water, LADWP will conduct no discretionary pumping in the region – only necessary pumping for town water systems and Enhancement and Mitigation projects which always operate using groundwater, such as fish hatcheries and pasture irrigation.

“To date this winter we’ve spread 8,000 acre feet of water in the Owens Valley and we expect to spread a lot more,” James Yannotta, Manager of the Los Angeles Aqueduct for LADWP said. “We anticipate matching if not exceeding the amount spread during our wettest recorded winter.”

The wet winter is also expected to assist ranch lessees who will receive at least a full allotment of water this year, a much welcome reprieve from the   past five consecutive years of drought.

In all, the Department expects to release water to Long Valley and throughout the Owens Valley in Laws, Bishop, Big Pine, Independence and areas further south.

“In terms of water supply, this winter is good news for everyone – both the Owens Valley and Los Angeles,” Richard Harasick, Senior Assistant General Manager of Water System for LADWP, added. “There is ample water to go toward both our environmental commitments in the Eastern Sierra and supplying our ratepayers in Los Angeles.”

Also in the Standing Committee Meeting, the parties from both Inyo County and Los Angeles agreed to formally adopt revisions to the vegetation monitoring protocols outlined in the Green Book. The adoption of these revisions represents the end of a monitoring discrepancy that has been in place since 2005.

The new method strengthens existing practices by developing a more consistent sampling program. The new protocols allow Inyo County and LADWP staff to divide pre-determined monitoring parcels rather than separately monitoring the same areas, reducing overlap and streamlining the process.

Vegetation monitoring in Inyo County is required by the Inyo-LA Long Term Water Agreement and must be able to compare vegetation cover and composition to the vegetation cover and composition obtained during the initial vegetation inventory which occurred between 1984 and 1987.

The Technical Group approved the new monitoring program at its meeting of February 9, 2017. Today’s approval by the Standing Committee makes the new protocols official.