Insane water dealings

groundwater-pumpbp-1Albert Einstein reportedly once said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  Under that definition, Inyo officials fit the insanity category when it comes to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s annual pumping plan.

Under the Long Term Water Agreement, LA comes up with a plan evert April to pump the Owens Valley underground.  Inyo can raise concerns and LA pretty much ignores them.  Under an agreement that many citizens warned would leave Inyo defenseless, LADWP virtually controls groundwater pumping.  This year, LA has proposed not just a pumping limit but a wide range of pumping they might do.  Their proposal has left Inyo nervous.  LA says they will pump from 61,900 acre feet to 88,000.

Inyo Water Director Bob Harrington objected to DWP’s plan. After a Technical Group meeting of both sides, Harrington said, “LA gave no indication that they would change their pumping plan.”  This week, Inyo Supervisor Susan Cash told Harrington that he displayed incredible patience in the face of DWP’s circular arguments.

Meanwhile, Harrington said there are two disputes on the table with DWP.  LA has objected to how much water it uses on enhancement/ mitigation projects.  Inyo is waiting for more information.  The other issue is the area known as Black Rock 94.  Harrington told the Supervisors that he is “pushing to get that on a schedule for resolution.”  Harrington said that over a year ago the Water Department determined a significant change in the vegetation at Black Rock because of LADWP’s groundwater and surface water practices. LA disagrees.  Harrington said LADWP pointed to the Inyo Complex Fire as the reason for vegetation destruction.

Harrington said Inyo gave DWP a report 16 months ago about Black Rock.  He said that vegetation conditions at Black Rock have been below baseline most years, and he said over time the type of vegetation has become more and more shrubs instead of grass.  This pattern violates the Water Agreement.

Harrington added that because Judge Lee Cooper sanctioned LADWP in 2005 and 2006 and because of an Interim Management Plan from 2007 to 2009, the vegetation conditions are not, as Harington said, “a wholesale picture of bad.”  He said Laws and Black Rock, however, are two particularly damaged spots.  So far, LADWP has not revealed willingness to improve these environmentally harmed areas, and Inyo has not filed a formal dispute.


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30 Responses to Insane water dealings

  1. Trouble May 17, 2012 at 7:26 am #

    If Susan Cash wants my vote this year, she needs to start showing she is willing to fight DWP.

    • Longtime Local May 17, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

      If I recall correctly, Susan Cash has campaigned in the past on how she would fight DWP and be all tough with them. Doesn’t seem she has kept that promise, unfortunately.

      • Big Rick O'Brien May 17, 2012 at 7:59 pm #

        When has any politician EVER kept a campaign promise ?

      • Big AL May 17, 2012 at 8:25 pm #

        Well that seems to be the way they do it .. not only locally, but everywhere … say they are going to do things, make promises .. then they seem to forget those promises and such.

  2. Daris May 17, 2012 at 10:20 am #

    Not just Ms Cash but all of the Inyo Supervisors need to make LADWP live by the Long Term Water Agreement both parties signed. You can scratch LA’s back all you want but it will still turn around and bite you in the a.. Supervisors wake up!!

  3. Joe May 17, 2012 at 2:33 pm #

    Why does LA have grass and irrigate when they have to take water from hundreds of miles away? We should forcefully stop the LADWP from taking our water and then see who buckles when their town is running out of water. I do not care if there is some legal document saying they can have our water. LA is an area that people should never have lived in. It has an inadequate natural water supply. If we cut off water to LA, people will eventually move to other places that have a sustainable water supply. PROBLEM SOLVED!

  4. Reg Reagan May 17, 2012 at 3:49 pm #

    Where’s the actual news in this story? It kind of feels more like a motivated opinion. At a time like this, facts are most important. Cut out the opinion.

    • Benett Kessler May 17, 2012 at 5:32 pm #

      Dear Reagan,
      Too bad you can’t recognize facts when you read them. It’s a logical conclusion that Inyo officials engaged in an agreement which gives them little to no authority to control DWP’s pumps. Year after year they go through the same dance with mostly the same disappointing results.

      You are right. At times like these, when LA seems to be playing more hardball, facts are most important. Hopefully, citizens will respond to the facts in this story. Benett Kessler

      • Reg Reagan May 18, 2012 at 11:54 pm #

        I’m not arguing for or against DWP nor am I denying any facts in this story. I just don’t see how any of this is “news” is actually new. I don’t see anything in this particular story worthy of actually being published. There is nothing in this story that we don’t already know.

        It is obvious that you do not like LADWP and your hate for them seems to breed heavily opinionated publications. Whilst you surely have facts correct, your stories are overloaded with bias.

        As somebody who doesn’t live in the USA, I like to keep up on the happenings in the Owens Valley. I’m beginning to realize that your news is not necessarily the best news and is often obscured with opinion. In fact, the Inyo Register seems to do a much better job presenting clear news free of opinion.

        • Benett Kessler May 19, 2012 at 5:02 pm #

          Dear Reg,

          Point out what you consider opinion in the story.
          Sounds like you are the one with opinions.

          Benett Kessler

          • Big AL May 19, 2012 at 10:45 pm #

            “Albert Einstein reportedly once said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Under that definition, Inyo officials fit the insanity category when it comes to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s annual pumping plan.”

            I think this is the part that stands out to me Benett, in regard to what Reg is saying. What fact is that? It is only opinion. And to open the story with something like that, isn’t very professional.

            When I read that article, that stood out very poignantly as being opinionated about this news item. The rest of the story seems to be factually written.

            As I have said before you write articles like this in regard to certain issues and you lace it with your own opinion and you stack the cards in the deck against people or bureaucrats and agencies whom you do not like.

            Your response to me is that you live here too and are entitled to express an opinion. Well that simply is not true. As a reporter reporting the facts on a story you can not interject self opinion.

            If you want to write your opinion as the editor in a different forum, then that is perfectly acceptable.

            I have defended you here on the censorship that people say happens. I have not seen it, you have not censored me so far for voicing my opinions. But I will also say it how I see it.

            I don’t think Reg is the one with opinions.

          • Benett Kessler May 20, 2012 at 10:12 am #

            Reporting is a creative art based on truth. Truth and fact – year after year after year after year LADWP sets the pumping plan and does pretty much whatever else it wants in the Valley. Inyo objects. LA will not change. To me that fits Einstein’s theory of insanity. This is not opinion. It’s the fact of how the Inyo-LA relationship has proceeded, for those who have carefully watched.

            Benett Kessler

          • Reg Reagan May 19, 2012 at 11:37 pm #

            “Inyo can raise concerns and LA pretty much ignores them.”
            “Their proposal has left Inyo nervous.”

            These are both opinions that portray negativity towards DWP, demonstrating your bias.

            These types of opinions are commonplace in most of your stories regarding DWP.

          • Benett Kessler May 20, 2012 at 10:07 am #

            These are not opinions. Fact – DWP has the power to set the pumping plan each year. Fact – Inyo frequently expresses concerns. Fact – LA does not change their plan to reduce their desired level of pumping. Fact – Inyo has done nothing about it. Fact – the Water Agreement does allow for dispute resolution which can end up in court over any provisions of the Water Agreement.

            Fact – Inyo Water Director Bob Harrington is nervous about why this year LADWP has presented a wide range of pumping as its pumping plan.

            Benett Kessler

          • Reg Reagan May 19, 2012 at 11:55 pm #

            Here’s a great demonstration of how your opinion negatively impacts your news:

            The focus and even the title of this story is purely motivated by your opinion. Consequently, you fail to convey the significance of the event which ultimately diminishes value of the story.


            Now if a person was to read this story:

            A reader would have an entirely different version of events that took place, specifically that this was “truly a momentous occasion for our community” according to County Administrative Officer Kevin Carunchio.

            This is a prime example of how your opinions against DWP effect your news.

            Do you think these two stories are equivalent?

          • Benett Kessler May 20, 2012 at 10:04 am #

            Dear Reg,

            The story link you included was about a completely different issue. An airport lease (which DWP held hostage for decades using it to literally extort more water out of the Owens Valley before they would grant the lease ) is a different matter from chronic over-pumping of the underground due to a weak agreement and county officials who refuse to even enforce the provisions that do exist.

            As I said before, point out what you think is inaccurate in my story and I will address it.

            Benett Kessler

          • Big AL May 20, 2012 at 11:06 pm #

            LOL OK so the facts … metaphorically speaking?

          • Benett Kessler May 21, 2012 at 8:32 am #

            Einstein’s quote is an analogy to the ongoing situation in the Owens Valley. The Supervisors seem to think that every time they object to DWP’s position, they will get action. Never happens. Thanks, Big Al.

          • Big AL May 21, 2012 at 9:19 pm #

            hehe .. well you’re right there about them thinking they can change things .. especially when they don’t force the issue more aggressively, but then they don’t have the big guns on their hips like DWP does.

            But then .. they could find a silver bullet to drive things home for them.

          • Big AL May 21, 2012 at 9:31 pm #

            But on a side note .. have you noticed how much water is going south right now .. for a moderate year’s accumulation?

            All of the drains and the river are pretty full. Might be able to be justify ground water pumping?

          • Benett Kessler May 22, 2012 at 9:29 am #

            The facts on this year’s run-off: April through September run-off calculated by LADWP – 48% in Mono, 56% in Inyo.


    • Ken Warner May 20, 2012 at 11:24 am #

      Reg, I just don’t see the story as opinion like you do. The story describes the actual, historical interactions between Inyo County and LADWP.

      Why is that opinion? Nothing seems to be fabricated except the opening paragraph which is an apt description of the interactions between Inyo County and LADWP. And a journalist has the right and frequently the obligation to describe what is seen through the eyes of experience that which may go unnoticed to one unfamiliar with the history and the facts.

      I suspect you are the one with subversive intentions. Trying to cloud the issue with a strawman posing as a seeker of objectivity insisting on balance while describing an adversarial relationship that has been overwhelmingly one sided in favor of the LADWP for a century.

      What would be your motivation in casting doubt on the veracity of the reporting here when LADWP’s actions over the years has been nothing less than oppressive?

      With that kind of one-sided dynamic in place, forced balance misses the essence of the problem.

  5. Just the facts May 18, 2012 at 9:36 am #

    I simply cannot wrap my head around the image of the LADWP’s water police coming to my Mammoth Lakes door trying to enforce a one-shower per week law. Or having my water shut off every other day.

  6. Just the facts May 18, 2012 at 10:56 am #

    I really don’t think we have to worry about any water police patrolling our neighborhoods anytime soon being so close to the water’s source.

  7. Bill May 21, 2012 at 6:51 pm #

    Reg, you should read Cadillac Desert, by Mark Reisner if you think LADWP are saints.

    Just the facts, you should be worried, there may not be water police, but they are going to screw us out of OUR water if they get the chance.

    • Rob May 22, 2012 at 8:26 am #

      If you read Cadillac Desert then you should know it’s their water.

      great book!

      • Bill May 22, 2012 at 12:00 pm #

        And if you read the book, Rob, you would know the underhanded, unethical, and dishonest ways they came by owning our water.

        And they don’t own ALL the water in the valley – the courts will prove this, like they have before. We just need our elected officials to grow a backbone and defend what is still ours.

        Jtf… I’m not at all worried, I will shower as needed. But we do need to be prepared to stand up and hold ground, err water.

        Terry – very well said and all true!!

    • Just the facts May 22, 2012 at 9:29 am #

      I seldom worry about anything, Bill.

      If I want to whinte and worry and stew and fuss and freak-out about everything under the sun (especially in today’s political arena) I’ll start listening to Rush Limbaugh or join the Tea Party movement.

      How could anybody possibly enforce a “Sorry, but you can only shower once a week in Mammoth Lakes” law?

  8. Terry May 22, 2012 at 8:28 am #

    To all those who might still think DWP operates in the best interests of the valley’s residents:
    It is well documented in several books about the unlawful and unethical methods used to acquire the position DWP has in the Owens Valley. If you think they are here to voluntarily act as great land stewards etc., think again. It is the actions of groups like the Owens Valley Committee, Sierra Club, Stan Matlick and Inyo County Water Dept (at least back in the day) who brought legal force to mandate DWPs “great steward’ image. Keep the powder dry because they will keep coming.

    • Big AL May 22, 2012 at 10:09 pm #

      Amen Terry, back in the day … current BOS don’t seem to want very hard to change things, but that is my opinion based on what I see. The silver bullet is out there, they just need to get it in place, and have the where with all to lock and load that round.


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