LADWP wants to deny water to McNally Ponds

The Long Term Water Agreement requires LADWP to provide water to the ponds and other areas of Laws to mitigate widespread damage from groundwater pumping.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, accused of an accelerated search for every drop of water in the Eastern Sierra, now does not want to put water into the McNally ponds which is a required enhancement/mitigation project in Laws north of Bishop. The Inyo Water Commission recommends that the Inyo Supervisors support supplying the ponds with water from river diversions.

Earlier in September LADWP officials announced that they would ask the Inyo-LA Standing Committee to reduce the water supply to the McNally Ponds which were designed to mitigate major groundwater pumping in the 80s which destroyed whole areas of vegetation.  The Long Term Water Agreement says that the Inyo Supervisors and LADWP working through the Standing Committee must agree to modifications of mitigation projects before changes happen.

When they met last week, the Inyo Water Commission recommended that the ponds be supplied with river water this year and that LADWP compensate Inyo County for past years when they did not supply the ponds with water and failed to get permission.

A report to the Water Commission says that LADWP’s annual Owens Valley report for three run-off years between 2007 and 2010 reveals that LA did not supply water to the McNally Ponds.  The report also says, “It is probable that LADWP violated the Water Agreement in these years and perhaps others by decreasing the water supplied to the project without the agreement of the Board of Supervisors.”

As for the possible use of pumped water for the McNally Ponds, the Water Department report says that “vegetation and water table conditions in the area are in poor shape and additional pumping would exacerbate these conditions.”

In the Long Term Water Agreement, LADWP agreed to provide water to the McNally Ponds and to an area southeast of the Laws area.  Earlier, Water Director Bob Harrington said that DWP has claimed that dry conditions have led to their request not to water McNally.  This issue will go to the Inyo Supervisors next Tuesday and apparently on to the Standing Committee meeting next Wednesday.


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24 Responses to LADWP wants to deny water to McNally Ponds

  1. Mark September 18, 2012 at 3:24 pm #

    Oh hell no! They’ve done enough damage.

  2. Trouble September 18, 2012 at 5:29 pm #

    Greedy little jerks!

  3. Chris September 18, 2012 at 7:28 pm #

    So let’s follow this closely and watch how our Supervisors vote. Let them know ahead of time how you want them to vote, AND, after the meeting, follow up either thanking or berating them for their vote. Unless we pay attention to every meeting and each of our representatives’ votes, griping and badmouthing LADWP is just wasting breath. Keep on our local officials to make DWP toe the line!!!

    • Big AL September 19, 2012 at 4:45 pm #

      Very true Chris!

  4. James Wilson September 18, 2012 at 8:14 pm #

    have they turned off the fountain at the LADWP building yet in downtown LA?

    • Benett Kessler September 19, 2012 at 2:33 pm #

      I just called DWP and the operator confirmed that the moat and fountain are still there and going.
      Benett Kessler

  5. Big AL September 18, 2012 at 8:37 pm #

    OH here we go again .. they just seem to do what they want, and not do what they have been told to do .. and what they should be doing.

  6. Jeremiah's Alter Ego September 19, 2012 at 7:36 am #

    They have the mentality of bringing the “greatest good for the greatest number of people” so to get them to abide by there own agreements is up too our county leaders. How much are they willing to fight?
    Would it be a good thing or a bad thing if the 5th district elected a retired DWP worker? and how does anyone beat a LADWP worker when he has there whole staff behind him? Who know’s maybe he has some good inside info on them that can help the fight for the valley or like I heard Rob say a few months ago “He just wants to keep feeding from the trough” LOL.

  7. Bill September 19, 2012 at 1:07 pm #

    LADWP Gone Wild…

  8. Mark September 19, 2012 at 1:51 pm #

    This would be a good cause for Friends of the Inyo, and the Center for Biological Diversity.

    I’m sure the saving of the ponds would be a cause everyone could rally around.

    • Big AL September 19, 2012 at 4:48 pm #

      That is what I have suggested in the past .. on items related to this issue, get the word out to the right places, the water just might flow?

  9. LADWP September 19, 2012 at 4:50 pm #


    Due to the low Eastern Sierra snowpack and runoff during the 2012-13 runoff year which was forecast to be approximately 65% of normal, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) is requesting that the Los Angeles-Inyo County Standing Committee address the supply of water to the McNally Ponds Enhancement/Mitigation Project (E/M). Specifically, the LADWP is requesting that the Standing Committee, at its September 26, 2012 meeting, agree that extraordinary conditions exist this year that limit the amount of water available to supply the project, and agree to temporary water reductions to portions of the project.

    Since the supply of water to the McNally Ponds E/M Project is an on-going issue of public concern, the LADWP is also requesting that the Standing Committee direct that a technical evaluation be done on the feasibility of operating a well or wells in the area to supply the project, and the findings and recommendations be reported back to the Standing Committee.
    The McNally Ponds E/M Project, located near the community of Laws, California in northern Inyo County, is one of 26 E/M projects implemented in the Owens Valley by the Los Angeles-Inyo County Standing Committee during the 1980’s. The McNally Ponds E/M Project consists of the LADWP supplying seasonal water to 60 acres of ponds and 300 acres of native pasture land.

    Water supply for the McNally Ponds E/M Project was identified in 1985 planning documents as a diversion out of the Owens River through the Lower McNally Canal or alternatively, an existing well located along the Lower McNally Canal near the McNally Ponds E/M Project could be used as a water supply source. Water diverted from the Owens River to supply the McNally Ponds E/M Project would be replaced either by two existing wells or two new wells in the area.

    Under the terms of the Los Angeles-Inyo County Water Agreement and associated Environmental Impact Report (Agreement), Los Angeles operates the two McNally Canals in accordance with its practices from 1970. As a general rule since 1970 for operational reasons LADWP has operated the McNally Canals only in years of high runoff due to the significant loss of water along the canals.

    In the past the Standing Committee regularly agreed to reduce the water to the McNally Ponds E/M Project during lower than normal runoff years when no other supply of water was readily available.

    The 195-acre southern pasture of the McNally Ponds E/M Project is expected to receive its full water allotment during the 2012-13 runoff year. The 107-acre northern pasture has not received irrigation water during the 2012-13 runoff year because there is no readily available source of supply during this low runoff year. Unless a well supply becomes available or another solution is identified, the 60 acre-McNally Ponds that are currently dry are not anticipated to receive water this fall and winter.

    • Chris September 19, 2012 at 7:41 pm #

      “Unless a well supply becomes available or another solution is idenified, the 60 acre-McNally Ponds that are currently dry are not…” This paragraph does not explain the status of the well(s) and why they are or are not able to provide water to the McNally Ponds at this point, or this fall and winter. It is reasonable to expect a complete and thorough report on a matter of this magnitude to citizens of Laws, Bishop, and the Owens Valley.

      We in the Owens Valley are used to everyday miracles in our weather, scenery, and help from our neighbors, however, we are skeptical about the probability of “…another solution is identified” when it comes to water concerns and dealings with LADWP, based on past and current practices of DWP’s ongoing decisions to overlook and violate previouisly agreed to agreements and mandates.

      Please respond with more detailed information and a more thorough explanation when providing press releases and articles for publication regarding water supply and policy.

  10. longtimesierralocal September 19, 2012 at 7:48 pm #

    They are going for Mammoths water and now this, it just doesn’t seem legal that they are just doing whatever they want !!

  11. Big AL September 20, 2012 at 1:41 am #

    Use of a well .. or wells in the area .. hmmm seem legit ..

    So use a well or wells to pump water up from a damaged area, according to local sources who say the area has been damaged by previous pumping?

    How does that work?

    The mitigation clearly calls for bringing in (importing) water from an adjacent source to help restore the damage from pumping .. There is language in there .. says .. the use of pumps .. that is just s way for them to skirt their responsibility in this restoration project, and they know it. So now .. water shortage in the south land takes precedent over the restoration effort.

    Funny though .. and I wonder how many people really catch it … water that is put into the McNally area, will be pumped back into the river .. with pumps. Take it out as fast or faster than you can put it in.

  12. Sumi September 20, 2012 at 11:29 am #

    LADWP is asking the Standing Committee to “agree that extraordinary conditions exist this year that limit the amount of water available to supply the project …” During these extraordinary conditions, LADWP should be making extraordinary efforts to fix their constantly breaking pipes, implement customer water restrictions, and improve the irrigation systems supplying city property, especially parks, instead of spending millions to sue or aggravate everyone in the Eastern Sierra. LADWP is calling this an E/M project but it is still a mitigation measure identified in the 1991 EIR. This is mitigation for groundwater export. The environmental impacts that occured for surface water export are not mitigated (pre-CEQA) although one might expect that management changes to export more surface water have occurred since CEQA was enacted.

  13. Badfinger September 20, 2012 at 12:47 pm #

    This is clearly a campaign of propaganda aimed at destroying DWP’s credibility, DWP has managed the sierra water resources for the past hundred years and they will for the Next Hundred years…..

    • Big AL September 20, 2012 at 11:07 pm #

      I don’t think so!

    • Mark September 21, 2012 at 11:18 am #

      managed? I think you ment mis-managed.

  14. Bill September 21, 2012 at 10:19 am #

    I’m going to repost my comments from another articel:

    Inyo/Mono Counties need to go on a major, national, PR campaign to show the Country (and especially L.A. voters and citizens) how destructive the LADWP is to the Owens Valley, past, present & future.

    DWP’s latest campaigns exemplify sociopathic behavior. While hiding behind a cloak and army of lawyers, their insatiable quest for money, water and power typifies the greed and evil that is so prevalent in our modern day society.

    It’s time the Inyo Supes take a hard stand. Do you truly care about your community and it’s legacy? If our Supes fail to have a backbone and fail us to stand up and fight – PLEASE vote the bastards out! And then follow the money. I bet the weak ones are on the take.

    • Big AL September 23, 2012 at 2:33 pm #

      Yes Bill, I have said this before … those folks who know where to put these news items .. in the right ears, the right news venue. Remember Mono Lake. That word got out there, and it made a difference.

      We need some big crowds to put pressure to bear, because as we know .. LA, has a butt load of money to pay all of those good lawyers.

  15. Trouble September 21, 2012 at 11:56 am #

    Badfinger-What color pom-poms DWP give you?

  16. Paco September 21, 2012 at 3:44 pm #

    The US drought is underground:

  17. ferdinand lopez September 23, 2012 at 10:56 am #…………mcnally ponds dry


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