LADWP repairs will mean high-water flow in the Owens River

Inyo County news release

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power will be performing emergency repair work on the Control Gorge Power Plant beginning June 26th, with a projected completion date of September 5th.

Water being released from the Crowley Reservoir will enter the Owens River at the Middle Gorge Power Plant and flow downstream through the Owens Gorge and into the Pleasant Valley Reservoir.

Inyo County residents and visitors can expect extremely high water flow in the Owens River below Middle Gorge Power Plant.

“Normal water flow rates are at 55 cubic feet per second, cfs. During this time period the flows could be as high as 500cfs. Once the higher flow rates have started they will remain at these elevated levels until the Control Gorge Power Plant is returned to operation in September,” stated Jon Crook, LADWP.

Last summer, due to the historic Sierra snowpack runoff, Inyo County officials cautioned residents and visitors not to float the Owens River because of extreme debris and fast-moving water. Inyo County Office of Emergency Services reminds residents and visitors that although Inyo County is not experiencing runoff conditions that are on par with last
summer, with the planned water flow increase calmer waterways such as Diaz Lake, Klondike Lake, and Millpond are safer alternatives to river-floating.

If you will be recreating near the Owens River officials recommend these safety tips:

  • DO NOT let children or pets in moving water and keep a close watch on children and pets – even if they are far from water; River banks can be compromised by extreme erosion – keep a safe distance from these areas;
  • Wear properly fitting personal flotation for all river activities;
  • Be aware and respectful of posted warning signs – these signs are there for your safety;
  • Stay on established trails or developed areas when you are near waterways; Keep updated on the conditions of your favorite waterways – river and stream condition information may be found at visitor centers and ranger stations; and fish with a
  • Additional waterway safety tips include the following: Never enter waterways that are upstream from a waterfall; Avoid slippery rocks and logs near rivers and streams; Stay up to date on Inyo County weather conditions through National Weather Service, Las Vegas, NV.

Stay safe and stay informed Inyo County!

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5 Responses to LADWP repairs will mean high-water flow in the Owens River

  1. David Dennison June 25, 2018 at 6:53 am #

    Trouble,I have to agree with you there….nowdays,seems warnings,sometimes packed news conferences from “authorities” with just about everything outdoors,from fishing,camping,hiking,boating.Onto the weather,with high heat warnings,cold weather warnings….warnings when it’s windy.Warnings what to do if your camping and see an animal that happens to have teeth and claws.And in some cases, when they slither on the ground.Warnings from the experts and authorities,kinda like the “regular” people don’t have the sense to make their own safety decisions and from experience.Maybe it’s the dumbing down of America,but in the olden days,back in the 70’s,80’s and 90’s,it seems I don’t remember this going on like it does today so much.Maybe it’s a good thing for some,I don’t know..who knows.

  2. Trouble June 23, 2018 at 3:42 am #

    Should we wear a life jacket when we go to bed also?

  3. Philip Anaya June 22, 2018 at 10:14 am #

    500cfs is going to disrupt and devastate the Gorge and it will wash the resident population of fish out and no doubt result in a fish kill . Crowley (Long Valley Reservoir) spills at the elevation of 6781.5 feet and today the elevation of Crowley is at 6776′. No one wants Crowley to spill so how about the idea of DWP slowing down the Portal from Mono Basin, letting those waters run into Mono Lake and spreading water onto lease holder’s lands along the upper Owens to attempt to limit the environmental damage in the Gorge. Time for California Fish and Wildlife to get involved .

    • Pedro June 24, 2018 at 9:27 am #


      Not a fishologist or riverologist, but seems the high flow could help the river. Rivers have varying flows naturally and get scoured from time to time. Wouldn’t be surprised if CF&W is in favor of this.

      Fish will be washed into Pleasant Valley Reservoir and work out who eats who and survives to swim back up the river later to repopulate. Not like that section of river is isolated from below or above. Besides, we are talking about mostly imported non native invasive species that have their own bad (and sometimes good) impact on the environment, even if we find them tasty.

      Agree that more water should be going to Mono and leaseholders. Just think that sometimes your arguments are off base and don’t really support your goals. Personally, I think Owens Lake should have been covered with rock from the start and the water used there should have gone to Mono first. Don’t get me wrong, Owens Lake deserves water but keeping Mono filled and alive seems more prudent if we can’t do both.

      • Philip Anaya June 24, 2018 at 9:04 pm #

        @Pedro, 500cfs is more disruptive than 250 . Certainly there have been spring runoffs probably greater than 500 cfs in the Gorge before the construction of the Long Valley Dam, but those did not last for 2 1/2 months. There will be an impact. While I would agree that the Gorge will eventually recover, the wild trout and the all the rest of the bio community is in for a rough ride down to Pleasant Valley Reservoir and there won’t be anything pleasant about it. We all know that DWP isn’t going to close down the portal or spread water to diminish dumping 500cfs into the Gorge without being force to or having someone in Authority present an alternative idea to them. They seem to need a lot of help with ideas. There will be a needless hazard DWP created by this scenario to folks when they are down in Gorge that is not mitigated or eliminated by this press release or warning signs. Hopefully everyone will be able to stay safe.
        While not knowing what the project entails, obviously they are going to be doing a lot of work if it is taking 10 -11 weeks . What ever happened to routine maintenance? What ever happen to the management decisions regarding possible deferred maintenance and why was this not done in December, January or February when there were limited releases from Crowley?
        DWP is calling this an emergency so that they do not have to do CEQA. Management like this is exactly why we have CEQA. DWP has been doing emergency maintenance measures and has been doing environmental damage in the Owens Valley this past year in the aftermath of the 2016 runoff. There is no problem with doing maintenance in there operations but they need to become reasonable, responsible and they need to do an environmental review.
        If arguments are off base then there is the need to make better arguments and there is forever the need to help shine a light on what DWP does in the Eastern Sierra. Otherwise they will never change the way they go about things .
        Both Mono and the Owens Lake should never have been impacted by DWP and thanks to many folks, Mono will never die and the Owens Lake is now a valued stopover for bird migration on the Pacific flyway.
        Have to always thank the Sierra Wave for news and this forum .Have to thank readers and the folks who post their opinions and thoughts. I learn something here worth knowin’ each and every day.


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