LADWP offers plan, makes no water promises


The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s Director of Water Operations, Martin Adams, returned to the Inyo Supervisors Tuesday with a project plan concept for the Owens Dry Lake. Bottom line – DWP wants to cut water use for dust control at the lake by half, pump water from under the lake, limit future dust control, and create and protect habitat. Asked pointedly if LADWP will leave water saved on the dry lake in the Owens Valley, Adams said, “I am not in a position to make a commitment. That’s a Board decision.”

Adams and others have implied that a reduction in water on the dry lake would mean more water for ranchers and others in the Owens Valley. Clearly, that is not certain. DWP’s new Owens Lake Plan would cost LA between $600 million and $1 billion. Most doubt LA would leave much saved water in the Owens Valley at that price.

Adams spent an hour explaining the newly proposed plan to the Supervisors. Before LA issued its own plan, DWP was working with numerous local agencies in the Owens Lake Master Plan group. In response to concerns that DWP would by-pass the group, Adams said he would meet with that committee soon. He said DWP’s plan came out of part of the Master Plan work.

The DWP concept would use gravel, tillage and non-uniform ridges to control dust on the lake bed in place of water. At one point, Air Pollution Control District Director Ted

DWP Director of Water Operations, Martin Adams

DWP Director of Water Operations, Martin Adams

Schade stood up to say that his agency never required DWP to use water on the dry lake. He said that was their decision. Schade said APCD encourages LA to prove out other dust control methods. He said APCD originally would have preferred the City use gravel instead of water. Adams had earlier said gravel is more expensive.

In his explanation of the new plan, Adams said that DWP wants to hold dust control to 45 square miles. He said, “We do believe under law that we’ve satisfied our obligations.” LA is now suing the State Air Board and APCD to end additional, future dust control measures. Adams added that DWP believes dust in the lake area comes from sources other than DWP’s water activities.

Adams also described a process of at least five phases in DWP’s plan so that the transitions taking place would not create problems nor new penalties from APCD. Adams said DWP would work with the Master Plan Group, the County and state and federal agencies on the DWP plan which would also require an environmental review. He said, “We will work with state and local officials to resolve the legal and regulatory issues in order to warrant a major investment on our part.”

Adams said the DWP Commissioners planned to meet on this new concept Tuesday but would not approve it at that time. With as much as 47,000 acre feet of water saved from Owens Lake mitigation, what would DWP do with that water? Adams claims LA will work with the ranching community for more water. Ranchers have suffered losses by DWP over the past decade or so. They face more losses in this dry year. Again, Adams told Sierra Wave Media after his presentation that he could not commit that water saved on the Dry Lake would stay in the Owens Valley.

Supervisors encouraged Adams to meet with the Owens Lake Master Plan Committee. Supervisor Rick Pucci said it was important to leave water in the Owens Valley. He said, “It’s extremely important to develop this point in advance.” We will have more on supervisors’ comments on later broadcasts.


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9 Responses to LADWP offers plan, makes no water promises

  1. Trouble April 17, 2013 at 6:18 am #

    So DWP wants to pump out the water they just pored in? Talk about pissing in the pot.

  2. SierraFan April 17, 2013 at 8:59 am #

    Is it me or does this guy just look untrustworthy? I know he’s just one of the many DWP puppet’s but can’t they send a guy that at least looks like he’s not the typical shady DWP Crony? All they seem to be playing is a shell game version of chess!! They speak and nothing good ever comes out of it with new idea after new idea… trying to pick the pockets of the valley folks!!

    • Benett Kessler April 17, 2013 at 9:25 am #

      Mr. Adams has always been helpful and polite in my interactions with him. Inyo officials and citizens should keep in mind that LADWP has its own agenda and it is our job to look for the truth of what LA is doing and protect our own territory.
      Benett Kessler

      • SierraFan April 17, 2013 at 2:39 pm #

        Respectfully so Bennet, You may be right with that but it just seems that they (the DWP) only really care about one thing and that’s the water which leaves this valley pretty much dry. So when they send someone (anyone) all they seem to be doing is picking the pockets (so to speak) of us here which is really frustrating! Hence, they’re all cut from the same cloth no matter how they spin it, how nice they seem, etc. And until the follow the rules given, they’ll be seen by most of us as nothing more than shady!

      • Trouble April 17, 2013 at 9:14 pm #

        Sorry Benett, but O.J. was really polite to the police and jury also.

  3. April Zrelak April 17, 2013 at 10:07 am #
    This is a link to the LADWP Board of Commissioners website where meeting agenda, minutes and videos are posted. Yesterday’s meeting (following the Board of Supervisor’s meeting in Independence) included a presentation by Marty Adams and Bill Van Wagoner for approval of the Master Project (item 25. The video is indexed so that you don’t have to watch the entire meeting). There are a few discrepancies between this presentation and the one we observed here. Some of it was perception about how the Project was received in Inyo. He indicated positive responses, with only 1 or 2 vocal regulars questioning the Project details. It would be better if the Commissioners saw the BOS video, because Mr. Adams did not translate the Supervisors’ insistence on providing some water savings back to the valley. It was distressing that when asked pointed by one of the Commissioners about economic development, Mr. Adams did not even mention ranching as a key industry in the valley. That commissioner had to specifically ask about agriculture. Mr. Adams indicated that the Cattleman’s Association (through Mr. Noland) spoke in favor of the project. He had this opportunity to relay the request for water needs by the ranchers, but instead indicated that all was well. The video was streamed live yesterday, but has not yet posted on the site . I encourage everyone concerned to check the site regularly for agenda items which may impact Inyo County. The Supervisors also need to see that their requests are not being delivered. Yes, Supervisor Griffiths, there is a “trust issue”.

  4. Philip Anaya April 17, 2013 at 1:55 pm #

    Honesty, Integrity and no BS. An interest in both the truth and the water issues of the Owens Valley is greatly appreciated by many of us. What an exceptional job you do at the Sierra Wave to keep us informed and to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas information and opinion. This becomes very apparent when there are other so called “reports” from other news sources with information that is not complete or is just perfectly inaccurate as to sway the truth and distort reality with a hidden bias ,with a self serving agenda .

    Of course LADWP provides the information, reporters have deadlines and trust their sources, but give me a break. The truth and the words “the Great Basin APCD never required DWP to use water on the Lake ” etc are missing from the Daily News Story and the Great Basin APCD is the devil, once again. If anyone is still wondering where the saved water from the Owens Lake Dust Mitigation Project this story finally does get something right, it’s going to a “thirsty Los Angeles”
    The other distortions contained in the this story from the Daily News “the DWP diverts nearly 100,000 acre feet of water across the dry lake bed ” and “more than half the water once sent cascading down to a thirsty Los Angeles now goes to quell Owens Valley dust” are not quite ethical or professional facts when they are reported as such.
    So, I for one want to thank the Sierra Wave for being ethical, responsible and accurate with it’s reporting. Like to thank Ted Schade and the Great Basin APCD for being ethical, responsible and diligent in cleaning up the air.
    We have elected a fine group of people to be Our Board of Supervisiors. They are honest and hardworking folks just like us. They are dealing with difficult and important issues. We gave them our votes ,our trust and now we need to give them our support as they deal with this juggernaut double talking deceptive DWP

  5. SierraFan April 17, 2013 at 2:41 pm #

    Well said and done April!

  6. Desert Tortoise April 17, 2013 at 9:36 pm #

    LADWP makes a concerted effort to appear at public meetings in the Owens Valley. Rightly or wrongly, LA places a value on their water resource there and makes their pitch to the valley at regular intervals.

    If Owens Valley residents and leaders are not satisfied with the way their story is told to the residents of LA, then my suggestion is to start sending delegations down to LA, get on the agenda of LA City Council meetings, MWD board meetings and start making your case to the LA press. Any resident can write the LA Times, though it requires a subscription directly to the times to participate on beyond a certain number of articles per month on any of their on-line discussion boards.

    If the Owens Valley wants LA to listen to them, you are going to have to go to LA and make your case, over and over again for an extended period of time. I can tell you because I read the LA Daily News regularly and subscribe to the LA Times that LA residents are completely unaware of the concerns of the Owens Valley.


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