Los Angeles Department of Water and Power General Manager Ron Nichols made a big fuss over Mammoth’s Water
District hiring a public relations firm to get their water rights’ story out. Now, DWP, which has used PR firms for years, just put out a new, slick publicity video on the Owens Dry Lake. The DWP Public Affairs Director says they paid for it in-house
The some seven-minute video stars LADWP workers and a couple of citizens. Asked about the cost of the video, DWP PR Director Joe Ramallo said, “We have not separately tracked the internal costs for this.” The message of the video is LA does not want to use good water on the Owens Dry Lake dust. DWP currently has an appeal pending before the State Air Resources Board on orders to clean up 2.9 square miles more on the lake bed. According to signed agreements and laws, the Great Basin Air Pollution Control District must assess any additionally needed mitigation according to state and federal air quality standards. LA still violates air standards in some places on the lake, according to APCD.
The publicity video gives DWP credit for mitigation projects in the Owens Valley and the re-watering of the Lower Owens River. The video fails to say that lawsuits by Inyo County and its citizens led to those water projects. DWP’s video claims that the Owens Valley “looks like it did 100 years ago.” What the video does not say is that 100 years ago, the Owens Valley was lined with farmlands, orchards and crops. Today, it is lined with desert scrub.
LA’s video also says there are many sources of dust other than that generated by DWP water exports. APCD Director Ted Schade stated that the additional 2.9 square miles of dust is “absolutely, 100% from DWP” activities. Schade repeated that LA has permission to use water, gravel and vegetation. It’s up to DWP, he said, to chose the method.
In response to LA’s slick video, Ted Schade shared dustcam and youtube videos that appear far less attractive than LADWP’s shots of the Owens Dry Lake. As Schade said, the “greatest hits of dust video” can be found on Great Basin’s website.