Letter to Sierra Wave from LADWP

– The following letter was written by James G. Yannotta, Manager Of Aqueduct, Los Angeles Department of Water Power:

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) is providing this letter to the editor in response to the May 5, 2013 Sierra Wave story titled “Inyo officials concerned about environment, water agreement” because the story includes comments and misconceptions on how LADWP manages groundwater pumping, vegetation conditions in the Owens Valley, and the Water Agreement. Concerns are often expressed about low groundwater levels and vegetation damage, but across the Owens Valley this is generally not the case.

DWP Aqueduct Manager James Yannotta

DWP Aqueduct Manager James Yannotta

LADWP remains committed to all provisions of the Water Agreement, a document that was forged from over 25 years of negotiations involving representatives from both Inyo County and Los Angeles. The Water Agreement is clear in stating that management of water resources in the Owens Valley must balance providing a reliable supply of water for Inyo County and Los Angeles, while avoiding significant changes in vegetation and the environment that cannot be mitigated. Although this past winter was the second very low precipitation year in a row, conditions in the Owens Valley are relatively stable considering the dry conditions. While this year’s Owens River Basin runoff is just 47% of normal, LADWP is working diligently to meet its water supply obligations in the Eastern Sierra.

Currently, based on vegetation parcels monitored by LADWP throughout the Owens Valley, total live vegetation cover in LADWP’s wellfields is approximately 34% compared to 35% in these same parcels during 1984-87, which is a period of time which is used for comparison according to the Water Agreement. Vegetation cover values should also be considered in the context of the ambient conditions at the time. Precipitation immediately preceding and during the 1984-87 period was unusually high in the Eastern Sierra. Snowpack runoff between 1982 and 1987 averaged about 135% of normal. Abundant water was available in the Owens Valley that provided very favorable conditions for native vegetation.

Reviewing groundwater pumping, precipitation runoff, vegetation cover inventory, and depth to groundwater from the 1991 to the present shows that LADWP has conscientiously and carefully considered important factors before establishing annual pumping plans. LADWP has a good track record over the last 20 years on how it has managed the over 300,000 acres of City-owned land and the Owens Valley Groundwater Basin, despite what some people may have been led to believe. All wellfields have groundwater levels that are higher than when the Water Agreement was enacted.

This year, LADWP anticipates pumping in the range of 71,000 to 79,000 acre-feet. Last year groundwater pumping was just under 89,000 acre-feet. Comparing this to past groundwater pumping which duringi 984-87 averaged 112,000 acre-feet per year shows that LADWP is being responsible with groundwater pumping in the Owens Valley.

LADWP continues to be attentive to problem areas such as Laws. Blackrock is performing as expected 21 years ago and was mitigated for by providing a fish hatchery and the Lower Owens River Project. LADWP is willing to work jointly with Inyo County to resolve any issues at Blackrock.

Most of the groundwater pumped and surface water diverted by LADWP stays in the Owens Valley for agriculture, irrigation, enhancement and mitigation projects, town supplies, and other uses. This year LADWP expects to supply over 104,000 acre-feet for Owens Valley uses, not including Owens Lake, while exporting much less, only about 67,000 acre-feet, for Los Angeles’ municipal supply, which is the by far the lowest amount ever exported to Los Angeles.


James G Yannotta

Manager of Aqueduct

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power



, , ,

56 Responses to Letter to Sierra Wave from LADWP

  1. Waxlips May 18, 2013 at 6:27 am #

    I have a hard time believing anything DWP says. Has anyone been keeping up with the run for LA Mayor? How much was it DWP gave Wendy Greuel? In the millions. DWP is a run-away train that needs to be regulated by someone other than themselves.

    • john May 21, 2013 at 9:09 am #

      DWP did not provide any funding to any political candidate…IBEW local 18 is part of a PAC funding the election hopefuls

    • Badfinger760 May 22, 2013 at 8:20 am #

      Wow… did everybody forget who it is that provides the life giving water that ya’ll drink every day?? Without LADWP, the Owens Valley would be a very dry and thirsty place to be, and a lot of local employees would be unemployed and with no pension fund to say the least, Don’t believe the hype 🙁

      • Tim May 22, 2013 at 10:19 am #

        Nature provides the water and plenty of it, DWP services the local customers as part of their control for export.

        DWP does hire many people and may be the best employer in the valley.

        Conservation and water sustanibility practices will create jobs and insure job security.

  2. Tim May 18, 2013 at 7:57 am #

    Dear James Yannotta,
    Please watch the National Geographic documentary titled How Nature Works or read a USGS study about the cooling effects of water on the earth’s surface. Plants, animals, and water all share dependent relationships in which our earth sustains itself and us. The Owens Valley water table and Owens Lake need to be restored for the health of the planet.
    You James Yannotta can educate every person you know at LADWP. I still talk to several people in Los Angeles EACH DAY who are unaware that their lawn uses 30 gallons of water per square foot per year. YOU need to eliminate or substantially reduce every lawn at every LADWP facility. LADWP is Los Angeles, every public building needs to have its lawn removed. Every park and golf course needs to reduce their lawn and usage. Owens lake, full at aqueduct inception, is now dry; the surplus surface water is now gone as you pump the aquifer. Please James, reduce consumption and replace the surplus; every single person I speak with in LA cares and wants to help. We have an earth emergency, when we took the water we didn’t know the impact. If society (LADWP) continues with the knowledge of our environmental damage we are guilty of crimes against the earth. We have to solve this problem before Mother Nature’s court convenes and finds us guilty; her punishment is most probably death, sickness, and discomfort.
    James, I don’t want to meet a single person who does not know that their LA lawn uses 30 gallons of water per square foot per year. I want to see the Owens Valley restored and the surplus untouched. How long can we take the surplus till there is no more? When we have exhausted the surplus and defeated production people will die. Will you take responsibility for this since you manage the aqueduct for pay?
    Thank You.

    • Tim May 22, 2013 at 3:17 pm #

      James Y,
      I apologize for the above comment; it is harsh as well as unfair to you. I wrote it from an unreasonable viewpoint. The solutions to the water problem are available to us now, education will get them implemented.
      Can you help?

  3. MJA May 18, 2013 at 8:41 am #

    Really ?


  4. Philip Anaya May 18, 2013 at 11:52 am #

    Dear Mr. Yannotta,
    There are folks in the Owens Valley born and raised who might not appreciate a newcomer like myself from pulling the welcome mat out from under you.
    With that said, please read the Inyo County Water Department’s response to the DWP Pumping Plan once again. Here is the link:


    In the Sierra Wave story Benett Kessler’s first paragraph reports accurately on what the letter contains. “Vegetation in the Owens Valley is below baseline in five of seven well fields”. In my own post to the story my discussion of the IMP, (Interim Management Policy 2007-2010) I have since learned that the limit of pumping 57,412 AF was ordered by a Judge which brings up the fact that DWP’s activities in the Owens Valley have been limited,restrained and ordered by Judges. You are saying in your letter “that LADWP is being responsible with ground water pumping in the Owens Valley” I think you are at best being responsive to the orders of courts. The LORP litigation resulted in daily monetary penalties to get water into the River. Being responsible vs. being responsive to court mandated behavior are two different things. Anyway LORP is flowing, we need seasonal habitat flows. I know that there is hope for the MOU parties to reach an agreement but then Blackrock issues should have been already resolved years ago.
    I reiterate from my previous post that the DRP (Drought Recovery Policy) an overlay to the Water Agreement requires “soilwater in the rooting zone recover to a degree sufficent so that the vegetation goals of the Water Agreement are achieved” The goal of soilwater in the rooting zone should not be applied to only recovery in the enhancement /mitigation projects, but the idea should be applied Valley wide for sustaining all life on the Valley floor. The DWP could have this singular idea in mind for a “responsible pumping plan”. A responsible pumping plan leaves sufficent moisture for the next year and all the years after that . Everyone in the Valley looks forward to the days when people will regard DWP’s Annual Pumping Plan as being responsible
    and all the vegetation whether it’s grasses in ranchers fields or native plants in all the rest of the Valley floor are green and once again thriving. In the meantime I hope that you will find encouargement and support for your efforts to demonstrate that indeed the DWP is beginning a new century with a new vision. Welcome Mr.Yannotta, to the Owens Valley.

    • Robert Johnson May 23, 2013 at 8:15 am #

      All “Flat-Landers” need to move back home to Whittier, and Simi Valley 🙂

  5. salblaster May 18, 2013 at 4:13 pm #

    I was watching jimi kimmel last night on abc channel 7 and got bombarded with anti wendy greuel commercials, calling her dwp’s mayor. Are the citizens of L.A. mad at dwp also. It sounded to me like they were using greuel’s association with dwp in a derogatory manor.

    • Ken Warner May 18, 2013 at 9:33 pm #

      If the people of L.A. are mad at LADWP it’s only because they think they have to pay too much for water. Most of them (most likely) have no idea where their water comes from — other than that silvery thing on the sink.

      Owens Valley? What”s the Owens Valley? Is that by San Berdo?

      • Tim May 19, 2013 at 10:00 am #

        The articles I read on LADWP consumer approval state that the reasons for the low rating are;
        *LADWP is often accused of issuing bills close to the payment due date in order to collect more late fees.
        *Among other reasons.
        Google LADWP most hated company to see many results and reasons.
        Also go to Yelp and read the customer comments for LADWP, you will find it very interesting.
        Every single person I speak with about water in Los Angeles knows where the Owens Valley and Owens Lake are. Less than 10% of them know that the Owens Lake was drained by the LADWP aqueduct and that there lawn uses 30 GPSF per year; this I am changing with signs, one on one education, blogging, and other activism.
        I am up off my butt and doing something about it.

        • Desert Tortoise May 20, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

          I’m waving the bs flag on one of your claims. LADWP is not a company. It is a department of the City of Los Angeles answerable to an elected City Council.

          The real gripe of the people of LA towards LADWP is that, because the department is self funded and semi-autonomous LADWP employees are paid more than other LA City employees with identical jobs and they haven’t been force to make the wage and benefit concessions other departments have. They appear to be overpaid in comparison to their peers. That complaint, however, is much older than I am.

  6. ferdinand lopez May 18, 2013 at 5:26 pm #

    every time i visit relatives down south,and i see all the plush green lawns, i always wonder what good it realy does for the homeowner,sprinklers overwatering the useless grass,running down the sidewalks into the streets and noone seems to give a *”!!

  7. Tim May 19, 2013 at 7:45 am #

    Salblaster, LADWP is the 13th most hated company in America;
    The commercials are a political ploy to smear a candidate; any mayoral candidate will need to negotiate DWP because it is an important revenue source for the city.
    City council wants low prices and huge entitlements, DWP needs to sell as much water and power as possible to keep up. Owens valley ecosystem is annihilated as the surplus water is exhausted and the systems production is crippled. The Earth in the mean time is left with two wastelands; the concrete cesspool of Los Angeles and the parched desert it created.
    City Council and LADWP need to integrate so that conservation and pricing can work hand in hand to achieve the goal of sustainable ecological public government and utility.
    People need to seek remedies through open discussion to solve the water shortage problem.
    – Lawns need to be reduced and replaced with zero-scape.
    – Swimming pools can be filled with rain water capture.
    – City aquifers can be re-charged with mountain run off.
    – El Segundo desalinization plant can move forward (even small scale desal could further the science with minimal environmental impact)
    – Promote shower shut off valves as money savers. (people hate low-flo)
    – Build a large island in the middle of Owens Lake to reduce the amount of water required to fill it.
    – Install a Caltrans water education vista at Owens Lake in Olancha.
    – Come up with your own ideas and publish them here, or defeat every suggestion that is made while the last of the surplus is exhausted. It is up to us to cause the change.

    • J-Frog May 19, 2013 at 9:17 am #

      Hats off to you Tim,
      Your comments are much appreciated in my book.
      Thank You!

    • Waxlips May 19, 2013 at 1:23 pm #

      An idea. If we start a committee, the People for the Preservation of the Eastern Sierra. We could include the Mono Lake Committee, the People for the Preservation of the Mono Basin and the Owens Valley Committee. While I wasn’t always on board with all of the things the Mono Lake Committee was doing at the time, they did have the power, which came in the form of dollars from all over the globe. They where successful in court agents DWP. Having these four committees on board and the help, backing and training of the Mono Lake Committee we could be strong enough to persuade DWP to become good stewards of our beloved Eastern Sierra. We could solicit the globe, all of us know of the many foreigners come to the Eastern Sierras after saving all year to vacation here. What if there was no here to come to, what then? DWP will, and I’m sure have been, putting a dent in our tourism. You know how the residents of Alaska get a check amounting to about $900.00 pre family pre year from the oil they export? Well, the residents of the Eastern Sierras should get a check from DWP for the water they export and for lack of jobs, health and habitat, surly they have the funds.

      • Tim May 19, 2013 at 4:33 pm #

        Solidarity is a good idea Waxlips, how do we get these groups and people together?
        What is in it for them?

      • anachronism May 20, 2013 at 7:55 am #

        The residents of Inyo and Mono County were asleep at the wheel when LA DWP pressured the state legislators to change the California State Constitution back in the mid sixties: CALIFORNIA CONSTITUTION ARTICLE 13, TAXATION SEC. 11.
        Our most valuable resource, water, cannot be taxed at its true value. The value of that exported water has been in the billions of dollars. Comparing Inyo to a “resource colony” is not far off the mark.
        A coalition of committees and people to try to save the Eastern Sierra from further degredation is a great idea. The power and lobbying of the LA DWP cannot be underestimated. Right now they are probably working the State Lands Commission to ensure that their Owens Lake Project plan can proceed.
        If the Constituion can be changed back in the sixties, it can be changed again! Why aren’t Inyo and Mono County working that angle? Los Angeles has never paid the true cost of the water.
        Please share this website with your friends. These videos need to be produced so we have a chance to prevail in our fight for the Owens Valley:

    • Desert Tortoise May 20, 2013 at 1:25 pm #

      Total runoff from the mountains surrounding the LA basin and the associated aquifers will not support more than thirty percent of the current population Who are you trying to fool with your propaganda?

      Desalinization has a huge energy requirement. Where is all this electricity coming from? All of the coastal power plants will be shut down in the coming decade or so to mitigate the effects on the marine environment of the cooling inlet and the hot water outfall. Now you propose an even bigger inlet. And what about the waste stream of concentrated brine mixed with all of the pollutants taken from the water by the reverse osmosis process? Where do you bury that mass of material when LA County is closing it’s largest existing landfill after some four decades of use. They now have to rail ship waste to the Coachella Valley. So where is all the waste from the desal process supposed to go? Dump it back in the ocean and poison the marine environment at a time when we are trying to close down coastal power plants to protect that same environment? So we have to replace the power lost when coastal power plants close down a decade from now, and you propose to add to the electrical burden with desalinization? Laughable nonsense. Oh yes, desal costs upward of $2000-$2400 per acre foot. The city could purify it’s waste water to a drinkable standard for half that, just as Orange County does today.

      • Tim May 21, 2013 at 8:20 am #

        Ok DT,
        I see you do not like any of the ideas that are proposed here.
        Desalinization cost is down to about $800 an acre foot, this is due to implementation which promotes process evolution; http://www.newwatersupply.org/issue/desal.htm
        Waste from lawns accounts for 40% to 50% of household usage; why not educate people and conserve?
        You appear to be opposed to a 30% increase in supply from runoff capture and aquifer recharge. Don’t small steps add up to big solutions?
        Help me out, I’m having trouble seeing where you are coming from and want to discuss water stewardship with you.
        Here are my goals;
        -Reduce usage while promoting new supplies.
        -Restore surplus water to earth cooling natural water systems and habitat to promote sustainability.

      • Valkyrie May 21, 2013 at 12:53 pm #

        My Goodness, Tortoise. You must mean that Los Angeles and other cities in the area had better institute controls on development right after they limit gallons per household, since water is so scarce in their area. That goes for reviving the idea of zero population growth too.
        Resource limitations will dictate new ways of doing business, like it or not. No use sticking our collective heads in the sand.

  8. salblaster May 19, 2013 at 10:23 am #

    This morning on nbc channel 4 L.A. they interviewed Garcetti the guy behind all those anti greuel comercials, and what it sounded like to me was his beef with dwp was over the brotherhood of electrical workers union which covers dwp employees. He was saying their pension plans were costing Angelinos way to much money. There was no mention of Owens Valley water issues.

  9. Fiat Justicia May 19, 2013 at 12:11 pm #

    While LADWP’s Mr. Jim Yanotta is to be commended for attempting to communicate with the colonial subjects in Inyo County, his facts are in doubt and his arguments are specious. Owens Valley’s residents are experiencing fear, dissatisfaction and anger at the highhanded tactics and single-minded mission of Los Angeles in marshaling every “extra” drop of Owens Valley water for the Southland’s lawns, parks, fountains and swimming pools – and for future growth. In the past, “extra” water remained in the Valley to benefit plants, wildlife and agriculture, and amenities such as the golf courses. LA has fought tooth and nail to get more water, misinterpreting words and ignoring intent in the Agreements to get their way, and unilaterally changing surface water practices to the detriment of the environment and the economy.

    The Bishop region has largely been protected from these assaults due to the Hillside Decree, so the inhabitants there have not experienced the death of street trees and the difficulty of applying water to the surface only to see it disappear due to the lack of groundwater. Maybe now the threat to the beautiful Bishop Golf Course will make Bishop residents more alert to the distress that permeates the other small Owens Valley towns. Owens Valley people must be unified, or Los Angeles will prevail again.

    The practice of removing water from hydrogeologic basins is environmentally unsound, but the deed was done before people knew about water cycles and recharge. So, in 1970, when Los Angeles prepared to pump “extra” water for the second aqueduct, Inyo officials fought back with the newly enacted law, the California Environmental Quality Act. After a 27 year battle, Inyo County, with the help of the Owens Valley Committee and Sierra Club, secured a Court-approved EIR, Agreement and Memorandum of Understanding that purported to ensure that the Valley would remain as it was in the 1981-82 runoff year.

    Post 1997, Inyo County lapsed into a false sense of security, and revived that old behavior of appeasement from the days before the Agreements. Almost overnight, allies became adversaries, with the fiscal paradigm controlling Inyo’s unwillingness to insist on adherence to the Agreements. It took the Owens Valley Committee and Sierra Club to make Los Angeles implement the Lower Owens River Project, after much delay and confusion. Now LADWP won’t do the adaptive management recommendations of the River consultants, even though they are required to. Remember, every bit of water NOT supplied to mitigation as agreed to and approved by the Court is water that will go south to Los Angeles. Owens Valley needs to keep the water that is owed to it by the Agreements, by court action if necessary.

    Let’s cut to the chase. The Valley is very different than it was even 40 years ago, but human memory is short. Those people who remember the grass, trees, springs and seeps are old or dead. People who move here believe that this dry Owens Valley is normal, that it is a “desert” instead of an incredibly rich and biologically diverse area with unique species that relied on abundant groundwater. People advocate further desertification by xeriscaping in the Owens Valley, as though that means that plants and animals on the Valley’s floor will be saved. The Owens Valley is the source – and the source should not be sacrificed for the desert denizens of Los Angeles. When you are asked why you are watering your Owens Valley trees and grass, tell them you are recharging the aquifers.

    • Tim May 19, 2013 at 4:28 pm #

      Fiat Justicia,
      I am 50+ and remember a completely different Owens Valley in the late 60’s; even then it was a miraculous place where wetlands met the desert. Thank you for your comprehensive and well written post, I thoroughly enjoyed it and rest in your shadow.

    • anachronism May 19, 2013 at 5:50 pm #

      The misinformation in Mr. Yannotta’s letter needs to be counteracted. That is why it is important that this video series gets funded.
      Here is the link. Be sure and watch the “Two Faced Video” in the updates.

    • Mark May 20, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

      If it’s true Bishop Golf Course hasn’t been paying for water they have had a hec of a profit advantage as they charge as much or more then courses down South.

      Do I see a price increase in the future?

      • Trouble May 20, 2013 at 10:41 pm #

        Mark- you forget that all of the City of Bishop does not have to pay for any of their water. Plus they could always put in their own wells. The City of Bishop charges to maintain their system. DWP does not own all the water rights from what I understand. I hope someone who knows more comments.

    • Desert Tortoise May 20, 2013 at 1:13 pm #

      You conveniently forgot to mention that when LA planned and built the second aquaduct pipe they did so to stave off efforts of several other water agencies to claim LA had abandoned part of their water rights.

      Under wester water law, first in use is first in right, but to enforce one’s water rights the water must be put to continual “beneficial use”. If you claim rights to water and then do not use that water, another party can bring suit in court claiming the rights have been abandoned and thus those water rights are open to other claimants. This was the case in the 1960s where LA claimed rights to all the waters of the Owens Valley but had not, at that time, taken action to transport that water to the LA Aquaduct. Other water agencies saw this and were pursuing claims of abandonment against LA so they could lay claim to the unused portion of Owens Valley water.

      Before you make LA out to be the big bad villain you need to get your history straight, learn the basics of western water law and realize that in the 1950s and 1960s there was very little understanding of the interelationship of the many factors in the environment.

      By the way, when is Mono County going to bring it’s per capita water use down to the level of Los Angeles instead of being the county in California with the highest per capita water use? To someone from LA with water use restrictions and the seventh lowest per capita water use in the state Mono County looks down right hypocritical.

      • Tim May 21, 2013 at 8:41 am #

        That is a really good suggestion regarding Inyo/ Mono water usage; The Owens Valley needs to lead and not follow. Valley conservation efforts should outpace Los Angeles 2 to 1. Creative solutions should be ground breaking and news worthy.
        -Residential grey-water recycling.
        -Shower shut off (as opposed to low flow)
        -Invent an accessory sealed in toilet urinal that doesn’t need to be flushed every time you pee. Heck, invent a toilet with a urinal built in.
        Ideas anyone???

      • Deserts lack water May 21, 2013 at 10:54 am #

        Desert Tortoise –

        With all due respect, Mono County is the ultimate source of water use. Awareness of this fact has prompted our golf courses to use recycled water only. There is no water-hoarding going on in the county as some are accusing.

        Common sense would dictate that when a person moves to or resides in The Desert, they must have attained the knowledge that people in the desert never planned there for water.

        And in as far as the “per capita” use, numbers can be crunched anyway you want them to be.

        If statistics were 100% reliable, then sitting in the first two rows of a strip joint causes baldness.

  10. Waxlips May 19, 2013 at 1:59 pm #

    Here is a look at what some of the LA residents are saying about DWP. There is even a post about the Owens Valley.

  11. Buck Turgidson May 19, 2013 at 8:01 pm #

    There is myth being propagated in some of these comments.

    The IBEW local that represents LADWP employees maybe one of the more powerful in CA. But that’s not why they have rich pensions. They have really nice pensions because they are employed by a wealthy public agency.

    City Water and Power utilities are enterprise funded agencies. As such it is completely illegal for them to spend money on other city departments or programs. Water income may only pay for water enterprise. So it’s a fiefdom really and no golden goose to solve fiscal woes. Without these rules our local governments would be even more corrupt. Any inferences to the contrary on Garcetti’s part are pandering and politrix as usual.

    • Mark May 20, 2013 at 10:11 am #

      “LADWP is governed about as well or poorly as any other electric system, public or private, and it does give the city $200 million a year.”


      • Buck Turgidson May 20, 2013 at 9:31 pm #

        There’s no context in that article. You can read CA municipal law. DWP isn’t allowed to “give” the City anything. Municipalities may bill a utility enterprise fund for general fund fees and services such as legal, HR, rent, insurance, taxes and permits. Period. Enterprise isn’t a slush fund for services and it should be obvious why that is.

  12. OV5G May 19, 2013 at 9:25 pm #

    If you ever need someone to tell you it’s raining while they are urinating on your leg…just call LADWP! So much greed and malarkey.

  13. Tim May 19, 2013 at 10:13 pm #

    Good job Waxlips, LADWP even screws Vets!

  14. Tim May 20, 2013 at 9:04 am #

    I just heard rumor that the Caltrans pull-out with water education at Owens Lake is in the works. It is to be part of the Olancha / Cartago project

    • Mike May 30, 2013 at 10:50 am #

      There are Cal Trans mitigation dollars from a number of years ago that have been designated for use by DFW at Cartago Springs.

  15. landthatIlove May 20, 2013 at 9:40 am #

    The Good, Bad and the Ugly…
    The good-if LADWP did not buy up the land and water, it would be a concrete jungle and you just might see the beautiful mountains between the buildings….the land in the OV is for the most part still public land with a few locked gates.

    The bad- we have been in a series of drought years in Nevada and California, when we have such short snowpac years, LA should be mandated to quit watering their lawns, filling their unused swimming pools and take other strict measures to cut water usage.

    the ugly- you are beating a “dead horse”, these battles need to be fought more timely. LADWP will always take the OV water. Just like Las Vegas, that is now buying up water from eastern nevada to keep their fountains going and toilets flushing.

    All in all, the water issue in the Owens Valley has been ongoing for years, ironically the same people that are fighting it came from southern California, now want to “fix things”….too late, unfortunately, now I get to the Ownes Valley seldom, but I do see it drying up.

    LA will always take the water, that won’t change. We must rely on Mother Nature for a few wet years, and she is a tricky old gal! Water is more valuable than gold.

    • Tim May 21, 2013 at 8:52 am #

      Who better to fix a problem than the group that helped create it?

  16. Buck Turgidson May 20, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

    I am wondering if folks reading this are buying these figures being thrown out there. Is DWP really only exporting only 67k afy to LA this year? That’s down from 200k plus in recent history? Does that fugure include water extracted from the Mono basin? I’m guessing not.

    How does that pan out? That means the City is buying a huge amount of water from other sources. So what’s the per afy cost for OV water? Must be pretty high when you calculate mitigation costs? Doesn’t add up. If the aqueduct manager’s numbers are right LADWP may as well pack up and take their happy butts home. Seriously. Stop pumping, rewater the river and the lake AND GO AWAY!!! We’ll let you transfer the land to responsible stakeholders.

  17. Tim May 20, 2013 at 12:51 pm #

    Here is a copy of the letter I just emailed to Redford Foundation and The Tournament of Roses Association;

    Dear T of R,
    Our Western United States is currently experiencing a water emergency, we have used much of our surplus which has permanently dried once full lakes such as the Owens and stopped the Colorado River short of its outlet. A typical lawn in Pasadena uses 30 gallons of water per square foot per year. I beg of you, please be a good example of stewardship toward the earth and sustainable water systems. Please reduce your 2-1/4 acre lawn while making the theme of the Rose Parade water sustainability. Please at least for one year use drought tolerant plants to decorate the floats. Robert Redford of Sundance Preserve would make a great Grand Marshall.
    Please do this and make my dream come true; responsible water usage and the replenishment of natural reserves and habitats.
    Best Regards,

    *LADWP, reserve your float NOW!

  18. Big AL May 20, 2013 at 3:19 pm #

    LA .. and San Diego are jointly doing the same thing to the Salton Sea. They have pretty much nailed the last nail for the sea, with diverting water that was supposed to go to the surrounding areas of farm land there.

    The Salton Sea was created by a mistake brought about by attempts to tap water from the Colorado river in 1905-1906, which resulted in a breakage from a swell of run off water from a warm spring melt.

    The earlier attempts to runs ditches from the river to the Valley failed because of the high amount of silt that built up in the ditches. They attempted to build a bigger “canal”, this canal had no control gates when the water from the swell entered it. Causing a massive flood, which took almost two years to control, ultimately the rail road stepped in to control it.

    People thought it would dry up, but it didn’t, because of a couple streams flowing into it, as well as run off from the agricultural areas surrounding it. It rose like a phoenix as a resort mecca and then crashed and burned in the 70’s resulting from two tropical storms.

    Since then, the water people have been diverting the water more and more from it. It’s saline content is more than that of the ocean, with the increase in its evaporation rate.

    It remains as a vital avian area, but will not remain that for very long unless water intake gets restored, to help maintain a sufficient level to support the wild life that depends on it.

    With a little help it can be restored, but the thirsty south land will have to share some of it’s precious water with the Sea.

    The same thing going on that plagues us here, only on a larger magnitude …. the dust clouds of toxic chemicals whip up off of the shore lines left bare by the receding water. These clouds of chemicals include toxic waste from the surrounding agriculture.

  19. Tim May 20, 2013 at 6:56 pm #

    The T of R did not like my idea and schooled me on their policy;
    Thank you for contacting the Tournament of Roses and for sharing your concerns about our water supply.
    It is the privilege of the Tournament of Roses President to choose the theme and Grand Marshal for his or her presidential year. Because the role of president is such a major responsibility, incoming presidents are named to our Executive Committee nine years in advance of the year they will serve their term. For this reason they often have a theme and Grand Marshal, personal to them in mind much in advance of their parade year.
    The lawns outside the Wrigley Mansion are property of the City of Pasadena and thus under the City’s control. You are welcome to contact the city with this message. I’m sure they would be happy to hear your concerns.

    The lawn at T of R is about 2 1/4+- acres or 90,000 square feet. At 30 gallons per square foot they use about three million gallons of water a year. This is not a good example for any organization to make for their world audience.
    I called a city water conservation specialist who said the property is under the care of the T of R. No one wants to take responsibility for this obscene single occurrence.
    I want the world to know about this obscene waste of water for lawns and its impact on our earth. It does not take a scientist to figure out that we waste far more water on lawns than anything else. The lawns have to be reduced or changed so that we can restore our surplus ecosystems and insure sustainability.

    75% of the water used for lawns could be saved just by installing UC Verde Buffalo Grass.
    This in combination with drought tolerant plants and lawn reduction could reestablish water surplus for the San Jaoquin, Owens, and Colorado River basins.

  20. Tim May 21, 2013 at 3:54 pm #

    A friend who lives in LA told me today that 10 years ago LADWP was going door to door with free water saving toilets; it is beginning to sound like LA has been in emergency mode for quite some time. My friend did not take the toilet but instead went out to buy a TOTO dual flush which has separate buttons for #1 and #2.
    She also says that there is a water conservation fanatic in her neighborhood who installs roof water capture and grey water recycling systems for homes.

  21. Tim May 21, 2013 at 9:02 pm #

    Have you seen the Dylan Ratigan TV spots on hydroponic farming? Apparently Marijuana cultivation has substantially lowered the cost of hydroponic agriculture allowing Dylan Ratigan to profitably grow food using the method. Being that agriculture is responsible for HALF of our water usage, I feel this is a significant breakthrough.
    What if we…
    Reduce agriculture consumption by 90% with Hydroponics.
    Reduce urban lawn consumption by 75% with UC Verde grass and zero-scape.
    Reduce in home consumption with shower cut offs and low flow toilets.
    Reduce swimming pool consumption with mandatory roof water capture.
    Capture urban mountain run-off for aquifer recharge.
    Recycle waste water.
    And yes, put in a desal technology research station at El Segundo.

    Then can I fill Owens Lake and take a little sail boat ride to Cerro Gordo?


  22. MJA May 22, 2013 at 6:58 am #

    ” this agreement isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.”

    It is time to write a new agreement, One that is worthy;
    The Inyo needs it to survive.


  23. Valkyrie May 22, 2013 at 8:12 am #

    Hey DWP-
    Have you ever considered algae production on Owens Lake? It might keep dust down, and provide fuel for your power plants or funding to purchase water from the Delta. Then that water you are using on the Lake wouldn’t be “wasted”, in your words. Of course, NO PUMPING from under the Lake can be allowed…
    Here is a link to an article about algae for oil. (It’s a long link, sorry).

    • Tim May 22, 2013 at 11:00 am #

      That is exactly what I am talking about, people sharing ideas openly in the public forum. DWP knows the problems are not going away and that they need community support to solve them. We the users must engage and become a real part of the process.

    • Ken Warner May 22, 2013 at 3:46 pm #

      Another great idea. You guys are cooking today.

      Algae is going to be important in the future for both food and energy. Nice thinking.

  24. Tim May 22, 2013 at 8:26 am #

    What if people with swimming pools recycled their grey water and used the pools as their personal recycled water reservoirs? That would turn a water waste system into a water conservation giant.


  25. Ken Warner May 22, 2013 at 8:40 am #

    All great ideas. The central valley of California uses a lot of water for agriculture. I don’t know how there could be enough hydroponic facilities to replace the whole central valley but it could be reduced by some incrementally over time.

    Low flow toilets need a redesign. Usually people flush them twice. which neutralizes it’s intent.

    But good thinking Tim.

  26. Tim May 22, 2013 at 11:06 am #

    Have you seen this?
    These people have re-watered an area near Cartago and created a duck club.

    “With the recently completed 140+ Acres of Ponds, the South Owens Lake area has experienced a re-birth in wildlife population. Founded by Tony, Kathie, and Elizabeth Haralambos and Jim and James Barger, it is the first project to re-habitate the Owens Lake area. Historically this site was known to be an excellent wildlife habitat area until the water was diverted from Owens Lake in the early 1900’s.”


  27. Daris May 24, 2013 at 12:41 pm #

    Does anyone know what happened at the May 20th standing committee meeting with regard to reduction in irrigation and mitigation water? These were on the agenda as action items.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.