LADWP releases 2012-2013 draft pumping plan

pump349Another kind of surprise from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.  The mega utility has come up with what seems to be a first – a pumping rate that is a wide range of acre feet.

LADWP Delivered a draft operations plan for 2012-2013 to the Inyo County Water Department on Friday, as required by the Long Term Water Agreement.  As they do every year, this year DWP says their plan is consistent with the “management strategy” of the water agreement.  The goal, they write, is environmental protection and a reliable water source for LA.

First, LA reveals the Eastern Sierra Runoff Forecast.  For April through September, they say runoff is forecast to be 170,300 acre feet or 56% of the long-term average runoff. They say it another way as 65% of the long-term average runoff value or 268,400 acre feet.

Every year, LA reports how much water they say they can pump from the Owens Valley under the terms of the water agreement but don’t.  This year it’s 135,840 acre feet.   It’s never clear why LA refers to and keeps track of pumping they consider “available” to them under the water agreement – a pumping amount they never take, and Inyo County does not agree with LA on this.

The operations plan says LADWP plans to pump “between 61,900 and 88,000 acre feet of groundwater during the runoff year.”  But, then the document says that LA will monitor the Owens Valley and see if “further changes to the planned range of pumping are needed.”  LA also describes their plans as “conservative pumping.”  The document also says that LADWP  plans to “pump no more than between 46% and 65% of groundwater made available under the Water Agreement” although the Standing Committee, they say, may decide to make further reductions.

LA also says they are complying with the Green Book of the water agreement which tells when to turn pumps off to protect the environment.  However, both Inyo and LADWP have publicly stated that they do not believe the Green Book works.

Inyo County has until April 30th to respond to the LADWP draft plan.

Meanwhile, LA has initiated a Dispute Resolution process on pumping from Enhancement/ Mitigation wells.  They claim the pumped water doesn’t add up to the amount the projects are using and that they have to use surface water or other wells on the projects.  LA apparently doesn’t like the fact that some wells near mitigation projects are in off status, since they are in danger of harming the environment.  Inyo Water Director Bob Harrington said Inyo needs more information.  LA has been keeping track of what it considers a pumping deficit in relation to mitigation projects of 180,000 acre feet over the years. One more disagreement in a long line of many.



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11 Responses to LADWP releases 2012-2013 draft pumping plan

  1. MJA April 23, 2012 at 10:11 am #

    Taking the water from the Owens Valley destroys the Owens Valley,
    And that is against the law.


  2. Sarah Palin April 23, 2012 at 5:21 pm #

    Drill Baby Drill!

  3. NewEra April 24, 2012 at 8:00 am #

    I cant stand the attitude of Drill, Drill, Drill, we have the ability to move away from current energy sources. But the whole scratch my back and I will scratch yours idea will go away for some of those evil/rich corporations. The system works for them and if we have another economic crash believe me all those elite few will be able to pull out with there wealth in tact.

    We have this water fight here in our local valley which is extremely vital to all living beings, LADWP would sacrifice our livelihood and life forms here in the valley just to serve the people in LA.

    • SierraFan April 24, 2012 at 12:19 pm #

      New Era,

      For once we 100% agree with each other, the DWP is the definition for greedy. They have an ocean full of h2o much closer to them that they should pull from and leave the Owens valley and surrounding area’s alone. I’d love to see the Owens lake full of life, resources, etc. some day but it’s probably wishful thinking.

      • Rob April 24, 2012 at 4:15 pm #

        I too would love to see Owen’s Lake full of water, but how many times do I have to say “It’s not about water, it’s about money”. LADWP will continue to go after the cheapest water available and that water comes from the Owen’s Valley. If anyone doesn’t want LADWP to take the water all you need to do is make Owen’s Valley water more expensive then other sources. The greedy sob’s will always go after the cheapest water first.

        • SierraFan April 25, 2012 at 10:04 am #


          No disagreement at all here and I do hear what you’re saying. My point is that it would be pretty cool to have the lake back for it’s beauty, wildlife, etc. Does anyone know why they wouldn’t fill it up again? Is it even possible? And if it is possible it seems that the whole dust issue would go away (or mostly disappear) saving the DWP a small fortune. Once filled they can then take the water at a regulated rate(as the water is available). Or am I just way off base with my simple thinking for those that read and contribute to this blog.?

    • Rob April 24, 2012 at 2:45 pm #

      We actually don’t have the ability to move away from coal powered electric plants. Last time I checked the wind doesn’t blow all the time and the sun is only out during the day. I also don’t think we’ll be building anymore dams for hydro electric power.

      What energy source were you thinking of moving too in this NewEra?

      Seems everyone is also down on nucular power plants? So what energy are you speaking of?

  4. Desco April 24, 2012 at 4:28 pm #
    Careful Rob, you’re leaving yourself wide open for the name callers.
    Santa Barbara claims to be the home of the ecology movement and even they can’t afford to run this plant.

  5. Rob April 25, 2012 at 8:35 am #

    The Santa Barbara plant is a perfect example of “it’s not about water, it’s about money”.

  6. Valkyrie April 25, 2012 at 9:35 am #

    LADWP is on the offensive everywhere. Read about LADWP, MWD, and San Diego.

    Los Angeles has not taken any steps to control its growth. More growth means more water demand, no matter how much conservation they require. DWP will be trying to secure every drop of water it can, through any means it can.

    Inyo County has legal documents in place to protect the environment of the Owens Valley, but the Board of Supervisors must be willing to enforce those documents, through the courts if necessary.

    Appeasement doesn’t work. It’s an election year, and Inyo’s citizens can elect Supervisors that have the intelligence and the will to confront LADWP instead of pandering to them in some illusory dream of “cooperation”.

    • anachronism April 26, 2012 at 9:13 am #

      And in order for the Supervisors to have the will to fight, they cannot have any conflicts of interest, like DWP leases. Remember that in this election year. Just the fact that the Bishop Cone is not pumped means that the three northern Supervisors aren’t confronted by the devastating effects of groundwater pumping on a daily basis. That affects their will to fight DWP because the majority of their constituents are not affected directly.
      It is a water war in the west and it is only going to get worse as the Sierra snow-pack decreases with the inevitable climate change. We are already seeing that happen. We have the cheap water up here. They have bazillions of attorneys and a seemingly unlimited pot of money (mostly from sales of our water!) to fight anything Inyo tries to do. One tact is to bombard the media and win the war in the court of public opinion. DWP likes to have good PR.
      Most of the people with the collective memory of the valley before the second aqueduct and groundwater pumping are dying or getting older and have lost the will to fight. It is discouraging.


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