LADWP removes temporary dam

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power press release

Bishop, CA – After meeting environmental demands in the Eastern Sierra for the irrigation season, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) removed the temporary dam in the Los Angeles Aqueduct, unblocking the system and allowing exportation of approximately 22,000 acre feet (AF) of water gathered from the Inyo/Mono Basin this runoff year to flow south to Los Angeles.

Photos courtesy LADWP

Photos courtesy LADWP

The temporary dam was put in place in April near the south end of Owens Lake to hold back Eastern Sierra runoff water in the Owens Valley for environmental purposes during this period of extreme drought. The first-of-its-kind dam effort enabled LADWP to successfully meet its environmental and other water commitments in the Owens Valley.

“While our past actions may have contributed to negative impacts in the Eastern Sierra region, our current mitigation efforts are working to not only restore the land, but also our relationship to the local community,” LADWP General Manager Marcie Edwards said.

“On a normal year, nearly half of all Los Angeles Aqueduct water from the Inyo/Mono Basin stays in the Owens Valley for Owens Lake, environmental mitigation efforts, irrigation, and other uses,” LADWP Los Angeles Aqueduct Manager Jim Yannotta said. “This year, with the snow pack at just four percent of normal, there isn’t enough water to fulfill the needs of both the Owens Valley and Los Angeles. The City of Los Angeles received drastic water reductions, demonstrating LADWP’s strength of commitment to the Eastern Sierra community.”


The total Eastern Sierra water supply on an average year is approximately 541,000 AF. Of this amount, approximately 230,000 AF is typically exported from the Eastern Sierra region to Los Angeles. The rest, nearly 50 percent, is kept in the Owens Valley for uses including environmental mitigation, recreation, habitat enhancement, irrigation and dust mitigation on the Owens Lake, among others. This year, with the temporary aqueduct dam in place, Angelenos will receive just 10 percent of typical exports.

With the residents of Los Angeles receiving a drastic reduction of water from the Eastern Sierra, LADWP had to increase purchased imported water from the Metropolitan Water District and the State Water Project. In addition, Los Angeles increased conservation levels above their already state-leading efforts, meeting stringent goals mandated by Governor Brown and Mayor Garcetti. As a result of this conservation Los Angeles has the lowest water use per capita of all major U.S. cities with a population of over 1 million.

In addition to conservation, LADWP is hard at work shoring up local water resources by increasing stormwater capture efforts and recycled water programs. Furthermore, the Department is cleaning up the San Fernando Groundwater Basin where man-made pollution caused by industrial activities beginning in the 1940s severely impaired the quality of the groundwater, forcing the closure of nearly half of LADWP’s production wells in the area. Staff is working to remove contamination from the groundwater and restore use of the aquifer which once provided over 28 billion gallons per year – nearly two months of the City’s water supply.

With these increases in local water supplies and conservation efforts, Los Angeles is on track to cut imported water purchases from the Sacramento Bay Delta and Colorado River in half by 2025, and an Executive Directive from Mayor Garcetti last year has cemented these commitments.

For more information on LADWP’s environmental mitigation efforts in the Owens Valley please visit:

, ,

4 Responses to LADWP removes temporary dam

  1. Philip Anaya November 3, 2015 at 9:40 am #

    Thanks T for every one of your contributions on the Wave . You rile, provide insight and humor into the mix and BK loves you to this day.
    Knowledge is not wisdom . A path to any goal is aided with knowledge, wisdom and truth. I have come to learn finally, anger is not wisdom. Anger can be diminished and resolved when focused on the resolution of the source of that emotion. In the case of the LADWP in the Owens Valley, they do not respond well to being hit over the head with clubs, just as folks in the Valley do not respond well to being manipulated, deceived and having the lands of the Inyo being severely affected and impacted by the DWP . Just because the City’s lands have remained relatively empty and open, that does not allow DWP to abuse what nature has provided upon these lands. There has been a great misuse of their responsibility in the name of progress, so much racing to stand-still.
    If there are any opportunities to have a discussion of “Sustainable DWP Operations” those discussions need to be pursued . There is the idea to “keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer.” This is not the solution/ manipulation for the issues of the DWP in the Owens Valley . I remember a late 50’s political cartoon in a Social Studies text book. Two identical drawings side by side of two people, facing each other, one with a hat , one with a turban. One caption reads “You can’t trust people who wear hats” Under the other drawing is the caption ” You can’t trust people who wear turbans” . Yeah from the late 50’s it’s a wonder how some things seem to go on and on.
    The odor of deception and distrust emanates from the history of settlers in this Valley most notably the DWP. Hopefully what exudes from the LADWP saga has reached a limit. If the current and future dialog includes an improvement of the human connection/communication then solutions and trust for a sustainable DWP operation will follow . While some folks will never agree such a future is possible , a future of sustainability for the DWP in the Owens Valley is worthy of hope and efforts and it is inevitable.

  2. Trouble November 2, 2015 at 6:32 am #

    Hi Phil, I always have respected your knowledge and comment to our water issues here in the Owens. Mostly because I know you care, but I almost feel like your starting to trust these guys?
    I question whether DWP really trying to do us any favors, or just simple out of water?

  3. Philip Anaya November 1, 2015 at 9:12 am #

    The Inyo County/Los Angeles Standing Committee meeting inLos Angeles is Monday , Nov 2, 2015 at 11:00am. Local public access via video conferencing is provided at the LADWP Headquarters in Bishop .
    Item 4 on the Agenda is :”Discussion of the request by Inyo County to retain some portion of water saved through water conservation in Owens lake for use in the Owens Valley.” Included with the other items listed on the Agenda is this statement . “The public will also be offered the opportunity to address the Committee on any matter within the committee’s jurisdiction prior to adjournment of the meeting.”

    This press release is an indication that LADWP, in this 4th year of drought, has this past irrigation season done much of what they are required to do. The quoted statement from Marcie Edwards, GM of the LADWP, “While our past actions may have contributed to negative impacts in the Eastern Sierra , our current mitigation efforts are working to not only restore the land, but also our relationship to the local community” offers an opportunity and direction to the DWP representitives on the Standing Committee to work and craft solutions for clear sustainable DWP Operations and an improved operating relationship with Inyo County. If they do this, then improved community relationships will begin to take care of themselves

  4. Trouble October 31, 2015 at 4:20 pm #

    It’s pretty hard to steal water , when there ain’t none. Even for DWP.


Leave a Reply

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