DWP boss chastises Mammoth’s water district and LA Times

ladwpAccording to news reports and Commission meeting minutes, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has long used lobbyists and public relations firms to spin legal and political issues its way; but since the tiny Mammoth Community Water District hired a public relations firm to help in its David and Goliath fight with Los Angeles, DWP has accused the District of trying to “snow” the public.

On the heels of last Friday’s Los Angeles Times story on MCWD, a press release was issued Saturday by DWP General Manager Ron Nichols, he bashes Mammoth’s Water District for hiring a PR firm and the LA Times for reporting on LA’s legal attack on Mammoth’s water rights. Nichols said the Times used “many of the baseless arguments set forth by lobbyists and public relations consultants hired by Mammoth’s Water District” at public expense. Nichols’ press release tries hard to convince that DWP is not trying to take Mammoth’s water.

Nichols claims that DWP is “in no way attempting to deny water to the Town of Mammoth Lakes.” Although, six months ago, LA did launch a legal attack on Mammoth’s surface water in two lawsuits, claiming senior rights to Mammoth’s.

In what some have called a bipolar press release, Nichols insists LA does not want to take Mammoth’s water and then chastises Mammoth for using LA’s water. Which is it? At one point Nichols said LA wants to “share” water with Mammoth. Then he says LA has no obligation to “provide free water to Mammoth Community Water District.”

Nichols further contradicts himself when he says Mammoth knows it’s position is groundless and is using public relations to “camouflage” its lack of water rights. Finally, Nichols gets around to saying LA will negotiate with Mammoth toward a compromise. He says both sides are in search of a “suitable resolution that would enable LADWP to retain its water while meeting the needs of Mammoth.”

The idea of meeting LA’s needs and Mammoth’s would likely be as successful as the Inyo-LA Long Term Water Agreement. The goal of that deal is to meet LA’s needs and preserve Inyo’s environment. Inyo officials continue to be embroiled in numerous disputes with LA over water.

After he assures that LA does not want to “grab” Mammoth’s water, Manager Nichols says LA water customers cannot continue to “subsidize Mammoth’s water bills.” Nichols said Mammoth customers wouldn’t have to pay that much more to compensate LA for its water. He says a typical monthly bill would go from $24 to$35.

In a press release full of conflicted statements, Nichols concludes that LADWP “has no intention, nor any desire to deprive the citizens of Mammoth of water.” Nichols said no amount of “misinformed public relations efforts can change these facts.” What he doesn’t say is the only conclusion evident from his press release is that LA has sued Mammoth, if not to outright take its water supply, then to hold a gun to the community’s head for money.


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32 Responses to DWP boss chastises Mammoth’s water district and LA Times

  1. Tourbillon July 2, 2012 at 5:40 pm #

    No conflict at all in saying DWP is not trying to take Mammoth’s water, even though they’ve sued to get it. See, you have to understand, to DWP, Mammoth has NO water rights – ergo, DWP is not trying to take Mammoth’s water since there is no such thing as Mammoth’s water. Kind of like the way a certain political party regards income – you might have earned it, but it first belongs to the state, which is why tax cuts “cost” the government money, just like letting Mammoth have water “costs” DWP. Simple matter of perspective.

  2. Chris July 2, 2012 at 7:09 pm #

    How DARE DWP accuse MCWD of trying to “snow” the public! ‘PR’ and BS are a huge part of DWP’s business and budget. What does this have to do with the issue of who owns the water and what’s to be done about it, anyway?!

  3. Big AL July 2, 2012 at 7:18 pm #

    LOL DWP doesn’t like it when others play their games on them .. LOL .. I think it is a very good thing TOML has hired a PR firm, that is on of the things I was talking about in an earlier post about getting the word out there to the world in general .. including the state and country and world levels. Gather support for the fight against the Goliath. See how they like the snow?

    And of course they are trying to take water from the area .. Nichols is shooting himself in the foot with his press releases, they couldn’t have a better person to doom their efforts, he can not present an effective presentation of his case, with all of the contradictory statements.

    He says both sides are in search of a “suitable resolution that would enable LADWP to retain its water while meeting the needs of Mammoth.” LOL .. this is hooey .. Who could believe them .. with their current lawsuits against Mammoth Lakes and other entities in the area?

    TOML’s PR firm should be exploiting this guy’s inability to present a cognoscent case.

    • This guy July 3, 2012 at 9:14 am #

      Just to be clear, the Town of Mammoth Lakes (TOML) didn’t hire the PR firm. The Mammoth Community Water District (MCWD) did.

  4. Bill July 2, 2012 at 7:27 pm #

    Greed… again. It will be the death of us.

  5. Trouble July 2, 2012 at 9:22 pm #

    Hey Ron Nichols (Mr.DWP), If you are reading this, you and your company are low life thieves. We all deserve water and you should have sued 60 plus years ago if you thought you were entitled to more water rights.

  6. waterboy July 3, 2012 at 7:17 am #

    LADWP has the water rights to the water Mammoth is using. If anyone can flip those rights to Mammoth then they could flip the rights all the way down the Owen’s Valley.

  7. Bill July 3, 2012 at 8:19 am #

    This whole lawsuit must be an attempt to set a precedence for future lawsuits of some kind. And it stinks.

    I just cannot understand LADWP’s angle. ToML uses little water compared to what is available. LADWP gets very little of their actual water (% wise) from the Mammoth Creek drainage, also.

    Even if they wanted to make money on ToML water usage, through increased rates, like the last point in this article suggests – they no longer want to “subsidize Mammoth’s water bills” – that additional income is pennies compared to the money LADWP WASTES ON LAWYER FEES with all the lawsuits they are involved in!! LADWP is a giant agency that pisses away millions of $ each year in court and fines attempting to get away with the continued raping and pillaging of the Eastern Sierra.

    Hey LADWP, there is this thing called CONSERVATION – you should apply this concept with your war chest bank account AND in your own water usage down there in the desert.

    • Big AL July 3, 2012 at 9:36 am #

      You’re right Bill, but the thing is .. they don’t seem to care about anything but get all of the water they can .. to feed the thirsty south land.

    • Daris July 3, 2012 at 5:02 pm #

      Bill Yes DWP is trying to set a precedence with who has what water right. Just look at the Owen Valley’s trouble with water rights for an example the 40 acre area or Voget’s ranch. If any private party thinks they have a water right get it researched and verified.

  8. Reality Bites July 3, 2012 at 8:31 am #

    I think that LADWP is flat out lying that Mammoth uses 1% as much water as the city of Los Angeles. LA has a population of about 3.8 million. 1% of that is 38,000 people. They have a lot of industry. They wash their sidewalks down and irrigate their lawns year round. Mammoth only irrigates May to October. I would like to see them prove what they are saying. I think they just made the figure up like they do everything else.

    • upthecreek July 3, 2012 at 2:07 pm #

      snow creek alone uses 1% of the water.. Have you ever seen these sprinklers going off all Summer every night sometimes twice a night

      • Reality Bites July 3, 2012 at 6:20 pm #

        Have you ever seen how many Golf Courses,Cemeteries, McMansions, Fountains, Swimming Pools, Car Washes, etc. they have in Los Angeles?

        Think before typing!

      • Grrrr! July 5, 2012 at 4:17 pm #

        I thought they were using reclaimed water…..at least the golf course is.

        • Benett Kessler July 5, 2012 at 5:37 pm #

          Sierra Star is using recycled water, and Snowcreek either is or will be.

          Benett Kessler

  9. a matter of trust July 3, 2012 at 10:30 am #

    Never trust the people from the maddening and overcrowded south.

  10. Jake July 3, 2012 at 11:29 am #

    From here on out every time I see a DWP truck around they are getting the middle finger. Welcome to the ES a holes no go back to your smog and fake grass.

    • Benett Kessler July 3, 2012 at 1:22 pm #

      I will only remind you that the people in DWP trucks are our friends and neighbors,
      not the ones who make policy.
      Benett Kessler

    • Wayne Deja July 3, 2012 at 1:36 pm #

      Jake…I know someone that works at DWP…..and drives one of those trucks….and ,like Benett says,not one that has anything to do with policies made years ago.And if you happen to be driving and give this guy I know the middle finger for no other reason than hating on everything DWP,I suggest you don’t get out of your vehicle… keep on driving along…..

    • Daris July 3, 2012 at 5:08 pm #


      The majority of DWP employees are nice caring people they do not make the policies all they are doing is trying to make a living. Don’t kill the messengers all they are doing is their job. Keep your fingers to yourself or make sure they are pointed to the right person/s

    • Big AL July 3, 2012 at 5:19 pm #

      Good one there buddy .. way to look good.

      • Trouble July 3, 2012 at 9:28 pm #

        You got that right Big Al. I assume he has family working for the thieves.

  11. bpgolfer July 3, 2012 at 12:25 pm #

    DWP thinks that the rain and snow that falls from the sky is theirs before it hits the ground. If DWP customers in the LA area would conserve a little it would make a bigger difference than all the water used in Mammoth.

  12. derph July 3, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

    Well looks like DWP is not done draining the Eastern Sierras but here is an intersting concept for you all. Put in a sewage treatment plant below town, have the whole town piped so all the water runs off to the treatment plant, then put the treated water into the stream and say “there you go” – same quanitity of water just slightly used. Their water right does NOT include water quality, only quantity and everyone is happy!
    This is exactly why no water project can get done in the entire state, LADWP and their water grabs! The “Watershed of Origin” law should apply to them too!

    • SierraFan July 4, 2012 at 10:56 am #


      Dang that’s funny! Thanks for the humor this morning.

      • Robert Weller July 5, 2012 at 10:10 am #

        I have already seen Chinatown. If LA doesn’t shut we Coloradoans will shut off their water. Come to think of it, throw Arizona in there also.

  13. thirsty4truth July 10, 2012 at 5:33 pm #

    Please get you facts straight–the city of Los Angeles uses the same amount of water it used in 1975 despite growing by 1 million residents. Mammoth Lakes has increased their usage hand over fist since 1975 to now use 1% of the amount of water used by 4 million people in LA.

    Any major city south of Sacramento imports water–either from State Water project (Sacramento Delta), Colorado river, or Owens Valley so DWP isn’t alone in importing water.

    I don’t think DWP is opposed to Mammoth Lakes using the same amount of water it has historically used–it is the proposed increase in the amount Mammoth Lakes wants to use in it’s five year projected water resources plan they have issue with.

    As for DWP workers–they provide the backbone of economy of the Owen’s Valley–if the aqueduct hadn’t been built 100 years ago–I doubt Mammoth Lakes would have had the money or residents to grow into what it is today.

    DWP is the largest employer of Owen’s Valley residents and yes they are your friends and neighbors so consider that before you flip them off!

    • Benett Kessler July 10, 2012 at 5:46 pm #

      Speaking of facts – MCWD reportedly uses 1% (actually much less in many years – 900 to 2000 acre feet)
      of the water export from the Eastern Sierra which is roughly one-third of the water consumed by the LA area,
      not 1% of the amount of water used by 4 million people in LA.

      Benett Kessler

    • Big AL July 10, 2012 at 7:29 pm #

      I doubt that Mammoth Lakes uses 1% of the water usage that DWP uses in the south land. And DWP has issue with anyone using their water .. as they see it.

      And the DWP workers did not and do not provide the back bone of this community, how do you figure that.

      And I doubt they are the largest single employer in the Eastern Sierra let alone the Owens Valley. There are some good people who work for them, I won’t dispute that, and they do not deserve to be flipped off.

      They just happen to work for the department that is taking water from the eastern Sierras. Doesn’t make em all bad. And DWP certainly didn’t do anything to help the economy out here, in fact I would say it has helped stifle it by buying up so much land.

      • Benett Kessler July 10, 2012 at 7:48 pm #

        Stifle for sure, Big Al. Back in the day (1977) John Heston and I managed to get an appointment with Mas Kojima, liaison form the LA Mayor’s office
        to the LADWP. We asked him if it were DWP’s policy to stifle growth in the Eastern Sierra. Without hesitation, he said, “Yes, it is.”

        The way LA is figuring that 1% is by using the figure of full export from the aqueducts of 250,000 acre feet per year. Mammoth Water District’s
        rights give the Town more than 2700 acre feet. The aqueduct water now only provides 1/3 of the LA area water. These are all LADWP figures.

        I believe you are right about the major employer. 30 years ago, DWP was definitely a major employer if not the major employer. Back then we also
        had Union Carbide and Contel. Now, I would guess that Northern Inyo Hospital may be the biggest employer.


        • Jeff B. July 10, 2012 at 8:48 pm #

          How much, if any, of MCWD’s distribution goes to Mammoth Mountain for snowmaking and other needs? Do they have a dog in this fight?

  14. Big AL July 10, 2012 at 8:52 pm #

    Yes Benett it only makes sense they would want to stifle any growth here, I hadn’t thought about NIH, but I can see that.


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