Owens Lake before DWP

photo (2)Website readers have requested pictures of how the Owens Lake used to look – with water in it.  Here are some examples:photo



14 Responses to Owens Lake before DWP

  1. Ken Warner February 7, 2013 at 12:34 pm #

    The Molly Stevens and Bessy Brady were steam ferries that operated on Owens Lake.


  2. salblaster February 7, 2013 at 2:52 pm #

    grew up hearing stories about a sunken steamboat full of cerro gordo silver but from the little research i did could find no evidence of that. still was a good story when i was a little a little guy.

  3. Bishopbb February 7, 2013 at 6:53 pm #

    They should build a huge solar plant there. That lake will never be full again as long as LA exists; Not LADWP but the city itself. The treatment that is going on there isn’t very helpful. What better way of creating more jobs, sustainable power, and taking a huge burden off trying to maintain dust issues. I recently heard that the environmentalist balked at the idea of putting a solar plant up because it will look ugly and affect cause pollution. Last time i checked solar is in the top 5 of cleanest energy sources. This whole thing is all about greed. The people opposing DWP want to basically bleed LA dry of money so they can come in make money off it themselves. Food for thought.

    • Cheese Wonton February 8, 2013 at 5:28 pm #

      It depends. Many forms of utility scale solar power, such as the plant just outside Lancaster or the one at Kramer Junction require quite a bit of water to operate. Remember these are steam plants where solar energy is used to boil water to make steam and turn steam turbines. Lack of water was one of several considerations that killed a proposed solar plant by Solar Millenium in the Indian Wells Vally. I do not think there is fresh ground water available to support such an installation, considering that LADWP wants more, not less of the water currently used to water the lake bed.

      Photo voltaic cells do not require water but their power density is not as great, making them less cost effective for a utility sized installation.

      • Ken Warner February 8, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

        Good points. It’s a complicated issue. For one thing, the dust would have to be completely controlled because a big dust storm would not be real good for a solar-thermal plant. And water might indeed be a problem. Then LADWP is also a power generator and why would they encourage competition?

        Difficult to get a handle on that idea…

        • Desert Tortoise February 9, 2013 at 2:47 pm #

          What kills me about some of these proposed solar plants are the locations chosen. The one in the Indian Wells Valley was basically untouched desert and prime habitat for desert tortoises and Mojave ground squirrels.

          Why isn’t the contaminated land near Hinkley being used for solar power. It can no longer be used for human habitation thanks to the chromium 6 plume below a natural gas transmission facility. The landowners have to be expensively bought out. The land is very far from pristine. Put the darn solar plant there. Heck, the groundwater has chromium 6 ( a corrosion inhibitor used in such plants ) in it already. Bonus! Lemons to lemonaide. But no, the industry wants to put their plants on pristine and sensitive lands instead.

          • Ken Warner February 9, 2013 at 10:54 pm #

            I doubt that the primary criteria for the placement of solar — or any — energy plants is “.. lets see if we can find pristine habitat to screw up …”

            I’m pretty sure there’s other considerations. But it’s an amusing theory.

    • Tim March 26, 2013 at 12:21 pm #

      Never say never because one big earthquake would fill that lake fairly fast. Those solar panels are going to look terrible under water. I say use the old tube to send sea water back to the valley and/or build a large island in the center of the lake reducing the amount of water it would take to fill it. The earth will keep the salts at the surface while replenishing the ground water. It’s my understanding that the lake used to generate considerable earth cooling fog like Mono; forget global warming, what about the regional type. How would fog impact the snow pack? Could increased snow pack store water for future use? How would water and wetlands impact migratory birds and wildlife? Why not plant wetland salt marsh grasses to reduce evaporation? What if the valley were restored to the point where it would produce food, livelihood, and sustainability? Why not start a thread soliciting ideas and solutions to the problem? Can we put our brains together on this, or is the solution more lawsuits? Perhaps we need both suits and brilliant remedies.

  4. Big Rick OBrien February 8, 2013 at 7:06 pm #

    Thanks for the pic’s, Bennett. I especially like the one taken from Cerro Gordo.

  5. Water Boy February 9, 2013 at 7:43 pm #

    I remember seeing sail boats on the Owens Lake after the winter of 1969. Anyone have pictures for Benett? I was 15 then and we were headed up to Mammoth to ski the big snow.


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