LADWP responds to Inyo Supervisors

Press release from Los Angeles Department of Water and Power

BISHOP, CA – In a Media Release dated May 3, 2016, the Inyo County Board of Supervisors asserts that the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) has not provided the County information on a program for reasonable reductions to irrigation and water supply on LA-owned lands and Enhancement and Mitigation projects in the Owens Valley. It is unfortunate that Inyo Supervisors put this message out to the public as LADWP has been forthcoming and communicative with the Inyo County Water Department every step of the way.

In the media release, Inyo County Board of Supervisors state, “LADWP has yet to provide the County or the community with any written proposal to evaluate.” This statement is disingenuous as the County was aware that LADWP would be providing the Inyo County Water Department (ICWD) with the written program the day after this news release was issued, and were further aware that the program would be made available for public comment on Friday, May 6 at the Inyo/LA Technical Group meeting. Perpetuating this type of misinformation is a disservice to the public.

An outline of LADWP’s communications with the County in regard to developing this program are as follows: LADWP placed an item on the Standing Committee’s February 8 agenda reading, “Direct the Technical Group to develop and present to the Standing Committee for approval and implementation at its next scheduled meeting, a program for reasonable reductions in irrigation water supply on LA-owned lands and for enhancement/mitigation projects.” This meeting did not result in a vote on the item as it was not agendized as an “Action Item.”

At the following Standing Committee meeting on March 31, LADWP placed the same item on the agenda as an Action Item and requested a vote. The item was approved by the Standing Committee at that meeting.

In response to the approval of that action item, LADWP and the ICWD scheduled a Technical Group meeting to be held Friday, May 6 in order to discuss the program’s development. The meeting date was agreed upon with the ICWD on April 13. The agenda for the meeting, including an item to develop a program for reasonable reductions, was approved by the ICWD on May 2.

Beyond these public communications on the topic, LADWP also met with the ICWD on April 28 to discuss concepts of the proposed program for reductions. During that meeting Jim Yannotta, LADWP Manager of Aqueduct, relayed to the ICWD that the program discussed at the May 6 Technical Group meeting would be agendized as an Action Item on the Standing Committee’s May 12 agenda. It was also agreed during the April 28 meeting that LADWP and ICWD would meet again on May 4 to further discuss the program for reductions and present to the ICWD plan for reasonable reductions prior to the Technical Group’s upcoming meeting.

LADWP and ICWD met on May 4 as scheduled and outlined in detail the proposed reduction program. At that meeting a copy of the proposed program was provided to the ICWD as well as a request for comments.

LADWP then proposed a fair and reasonable program for reduction on May 6 at the Technical Group meeting and accepted comments on the plan. The proposed program was developed by reviewing water indexes from multiple locations across the state to establish a baseline definition for the term “dry year.”

Utilizing this data, staff compared numbers with similar periods in the Owens Valley and developed three dry year classifications: below normal, dry and critical dry. Based on these classifications a reasonable water use reduction was proposed. For the first year of a dry period, LADWP proposed asking for no reduction in irrigation. Should a second dry year period follow, then limited but incremental reductions would ensue.

These increments were deigned to assist local agriculture to more easily absorb the reductions. Any year registering below normal or normal would also reset the time frame, allowing a two year buffer before any reduction would be implemented. During the May 6 meeting and in previous discussions, LADWP asked for suggestions and input from the ICWD about the program. ICWD didn’t offer comments specific to the program or any alternatives.

LADWP continues to be open and forthcoming in its operation planning within the Owens Valley and looks forward to a more honest and productive relationship with Inyo County officials in the future. The LADWP Draft Operations Plan is available online at:



19 Responses to LADWP responds to Inyo Supervisors

  1. Philip Anaya May 11, 2016 at 9:19 pm #

    ” What we have here is a failure to communicate” Who had any idea at all that these prophetic words from the movie Cool Hand Luke could reveberate and define each of the 100 years plus of the LADWP in the Eastern Sierra .
    Lucky me. I saw that movie more than once and I was in attendance to hear and comment if I could have gotten over the shock of this “fair and reasonable” proposal at the May 6 Tech Meeting . “Fair and Reasonable” ? I thought that a “fair and reasonable” idea or plan would provide benefits to each of the party’s, in an agreement . Having preplanned mandatory reductions of water to the Ranchers and to the Mitgation Projects based on whatever kind of criteria when the reductions of irrigation water would end up in the Aqueduct does not sound anything like “fair and reasonable” or benficial to the Ranchers , to the environment or to the overall economics of Inyo County . Nate Reade, Inyo Mono County Ag Commissioner reported at the May 10 BoS Talking Water Workshop that Ag in Inyo County had the second worst decline in Ag Value in the State of California this past year. Unlike agricultue in the Cental Valley, Inyo County is not as nimble at changing crops or ag practices in reaction to a drought ,to diminished water supply for irrigation and reduction of the vital irrigation resource would only contribute to furthur decline of the economic well being of the Eastern Sierra . A reduction to the Enhancement Mitigation projects would also have a negative impact on the Eastern Sierra environment and visitors don’t travel to the Eastern Sierra to be enamored by a dust bowl . So DWP what are you thinking linking the words “fair and reasonable” to a proposal that benefits only Los Angeles.
    We are Inyo County , We are ranchers, We are native peoples , some young some AARP, We are Republicans, Democrats, many religions and beliefs . We are all, in the Eastern Sierra, friends of the Inyo, we are few but we are strong because DWP, you unite us all .
    Thanks once again to Inyo County and its Board of Supervisors, standing tall and standing strong for the Eastern Sierra .

  2. MJA May 12, 2016 at 6:53 am #

    I have a suggestion: Shut off the wells! =

    • Tom May 16, 2016 at 12:04 pm #

      The water comes from the mountains and the river right? So what are talking about with “shutting off” the wells?.

      • DESCO May 16, 2016 at 4:46 pm #

        There are wells all over the valley. Community water districts have wells. City of Bishop and I’m sure the other towns have wells. The res has wells. DWP has wells to measure the depth of the aquifer that their other wells are pumping dry. There are artesian wells that flow naturally into the river. Some ranches have wells. Not sure if they are private or DWP. Just drive out Hwy 6.

    • Tom May 16, 2016 at 12:09 pm #

      Philip Anaya: Perhaps you are correct in some ways. But LADWP owns the land and most of the water rights. The land was legally bought over 100 years ago. Like it or not, that’s just the way it is.

      • Trouble May 17, 2016 at 10:17 am #

        Tom, the facts are Molhallan and his cronies lied and cheated the entire valley out of their/our water rights. How can you say they legally bought the water rights? By the way, they don’t own all the water rights.

        • Pedro May 17, 2016 at 8:21 pm #


          Some would say Mullholland was just a smarter thief than the people who stole the land before him. Those water “rights” he stole were taken by force from families that lived, and have lived, here for generations before Columbus. Thieves crying about thieves.

          Easy come, easy go.

          • Bob May 19, 2016 at 1:58 pm #

            Mullholland did have a vision into the future

          • Philip Anaya May 20, 2016 at 10:06 am #

            This tragic avoidable event rearranged the perception and the vision of William Muholland.


          • Pedro May 20, 2016 at 8:24 pm #

            Mullhollland was just one cog in the manifest destiny machine. The Feds push under McKinley to colonize the Pacific resulted in haining Hawaii, Guam and the Philippines. The sovereign nation of Hawaii had it”s government overthrown and land claimed by American plantation owners similar, to what happened to local native nations. The Feds annexed Hawaii and gave away promised reservation lands in the Owens Valley. The coastal ports of L.A. and San Francisco were needed to open trade with Asia and the Pacific Islamds were needed for naval bases to protect that trade.

            What’s happened here is a travesty, yes. But it is nothing new, take a look at the entire world around us and our history for thousands of years. Y’all give Mulholland too much credit, we all have a horse thief or two in our family tree.

        • Bob May 18, 2016 at 2:50 pm #

          water rights were acquired legally with some shady manipulation, some lying, and yes probably some cheating.

          What’s the big deal all methods are still being used today

          • DESCO May 18, 2016 at 6:36 pm #

            The word “rape” is frequently used. Harsh word. From what I’ve read consensual sex, reluctant but consensual would better describe it. There was a drought going on, like today. Agricultural land values were declining, like today. A lot of ranchers and farmers were grateful to get anything for their land. There was some “selective” buying to force others to sell. Good business practice since the dawn of time. Lying, cheating, stealing, Only if you were on the brown end of the stick.

          • Trouble May 19, 2016 at 5:36 pm #

            Bob and Pedro, tell that to all the locals on the west side of town . The ones who had to dig two hundred ft wells and have a dried creek running thru their yards.

      • Philip Anaya May 17, 2016 at 2:55 pm #

        T. Although I don’t wish to be harsh, it sounds like you know a lot less about the history and the issues of the LADWP in the Owens Valley than I and I still have much to learn .
        The one thing that I do know is that there is a Long Term Water Agreement that both Inyo County and the LADWP agreed to. This issue of reductions of the Irrigation water to the Ranchers and reduction to the water needed for Enhancements and Mitgation Projects has a process in place in the LTWA. DWP is seeking a change in that process but Inyo County does not agree to the particular proposal. Both Parties have to agree by consensus to almost everything before it can happen including this and then the Inyo County Board of Supervisors and I think the LADWP Water Commision have to apporove any reductions let alone a change in the process . If both parties to the LTWA do not agree then the proposal is dead until it is proposed again and that happens.
        Add to this is the new California Sustainable Groundwater Quality Act . The Owens Valley has been identified as an Endangered Basin subject to the SGMA. The parts of the Basin that are LA City owned and regulated by the LTWA are referred to as Adjudicated Basins . Those areas of the Basin that are outside the City owned lands are called Non Adjudicated Basins and Inyo County or some other agreed to entity will establish a Groundwater Management Agency complete with it’s own local rules that conform to the SGMA and be approved by the State of California Department of Water Resources . Inyo County and the LADWP in the not to distant future will begin reporting annualy to the Department of Water Resources on their progress to groundwater sustainability . If they do not meet the prescribed time frames then the State will step in. And so it goes T. Water belongs to us all. If we own property maybe we have a water right to take a share. As we draw water from a common aquifer along with many others we still only can expect a share. If we don’t own property, if we live in a City people still need water. The City Water Departments provide that water but they are not allowed any longer to lie ,cheat and steal to acquire that water especially in the Owens Valley. The City of Los Angeles owns 65% of the Metropolitan Water District and they have the largest allotment of water available from the California Water Project and the Colorado River. Inyo County does not have a pipeline to these sources .We only have what DWP wants to take and we want LADWP to live up to what they have agreed to. Like it or not ,(I also like those words) the days of an unrestrained DWP in the Owens Valley are over . In the next 100 years there will be only sustainable practices and operations . The Water Tables in the DWP well fields hopefully will recover . The Lakes will be full. There will be hatches and fish jumping and there will be a Owens Valley that will only be allowed to slowly evolve at geologic time, a dream of many in the Owens Valley come true. Are you in T.?

        • Trouble May 17, 2016 at 11:54 pm #

          Phillip, I will always value your knowledge and opinions on our DWP issues up here. I fully admit I don’t know all the agreements and judgements we have with them.

          But I do think that you seem to be able to ingnore the last hundred years of lies and deception DWP has used to get us back to the bargaining table again.

          • Philip Anaya May 18, 2016 at 10:01 am #

            There is a need to understand the last 100 years of the History of the DWP here in the Owens Valley. I am especially interested to learn and more clearly understand what has occurred here in the Bishop area, in the Bishop Cone. The current issues of The Chandler Decree, the 1933 Sales Agreement that I have yet to find and read ,The Hillside Decree , The annual Bishop Cone Audit and the latest proposal from DWP of 2 new wells B-2 B-5 and how all of this is going to play out into the future. Those are things to attend to. There is plenty of anger and emotional response going on inside about the current deceptions and other tactics of the LADWP and after decades I am only beginning to understand how to focus outrage into an accurate understanding and responce to the likes of the DWP. The light of day shining on the DWP issues is what we need to go forward into the next 100 years. There are and have been some great folks who have been carrying a bright torch and when I grow up I want to be one of them , a torch bearer.

        • Larry May 19, 2016 at 5:46 pm #

          The DWP is a bully they have nearly destroyed a unique ecosystem and there is nothing moral about what they do.

  3. Trouble May 12, 2016 at 10:43 am #

    The only way we will slow down DWP is in court.

    • Bob May 13, 2016 at 10:08 am #

      Or figure out how to make Owen’s River water more expensive than the next cheapest available source


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