By Deb Murphy
Whatever disconnect popped up between Inyo County and the City of Los Angeles over the City’s emergency declaration and the department’s commitment to work with Inyo to prevent flood damage during this year’s unprecedented runoff popped back down last Friday.
Following a special closed session meeting of the Board of Supervisors, LADWP’s Chief Operation Officer Marty Adams, Director of Water Operations Anselmo Collins and LA’s Director of Infrastructure Ted Bardacke reassured the County, dispelling a sense Inyo was on its own in preparing for a potential flood disaster.
A major disconnect involved LA Mayor Eric Garcetti’s declaration of emergency covering Los Angeles and the length of the aqueduct. The fear was the declaration could throw up more red tape for Inyo’s efforts to deal with threats to life and property. “The declaration was not meant to complicate things,” Bardacke said. “The primary purpose was to reduce the impact on this region” as well as points south.
Adams filled in a lot of the blanks on what the department is doing and will do to manage twice as much water as the valley and the department have seen since 1983.
Adams explained the normal end point for all that water would have been the Owens Lake. “The lake would rise seven feet if we do nothing,” he said. That level of water would wipe out much of the infrastructure designed to prevent emissions. The department’s goal is to keep as much water as possible out of the river and away from the lake.
Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District control officer Phill Kiddoo, who was involved in the department’s efforts to use less water on the lake, outlined the collaborative efforts to increase water on the lake without wiping out berms, roads and other assets.
Department efforts include prepping valley infrastructure, diversions, monitoring stations and sand traps. Adams provided a breakdown of equipment and personnel with staging areas from Lee Vining to Olancha. Collins passed out inundation maps, showing where water would go in the event of flooding.
Other members of the emergency operations group, the Sheriff’s Department and Public Works, asked for advance notice when water levels were raised along the river and when areas were targeted for extensive spreading operations.