LADWP water plan shows surplus supply


LA Urban Water Management Plan shows up to 81% surplus water supply in average years.

As Mammoth Community Water District gears up to spend money on a fight with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power for all of its surface water rights, officials have begun to look at LADWP’s water supply and demand.  They found that by comparison to LA’s supply, Mammoth’s sum of water hardly seems worth a fight.

LADWP apparently disagrees.  They have filed two lawsuits against Mammoth’s Water District – one challenges the rights to Mammoth Creek and the other attacks Mammoth’s Urban Water Manage Plan.  Mammoth Water District’s General Manager Greg Norby looked at LA’s Urban Water Management Plan and found figures that show a surplus for LA, even under dry year conditions.

Norby said, “Their surplus supply is between 120 and 360 times larger than the Mammoth community’s maximum annual use of Mammoth Creek supply, which is 2,760 acre feet.” LADWP’s water supply surplus, Norby said, is forecast at between 370,000 and 1 million acre feet under dry year conditions.

Put in other terms, figures in LA’s water plan show a surplus water supply, meaning water available in excess of demands, of 32% in multiple dry years and up to 81% surplus in average water year conditions.  So, with this much margin, why pick on Mammoth?  LADWP says they don’t comment on pending suits.

MCWD Manager Norby also points out that LADWP’s Water Plan calls for recycled water that will make up about 1% of the City’s water supply.  In 20 years, recycled will account for 4%.  By contrast, Mammoth Lakes will meet 15% of its water supply with recycled water.

Settlement talks will take place March 28th in Los Angeles.  LADWP refused to put its suits on hold during negotiations.

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9 Responses to LADWP water plan shows surplus supply

  1. Bill March 2, 2012 at 7:28 pm #

    LA is not going to give an inch on this issue of Mammoth Creek. They will never give up until they have ALL the water!! These are not nice people and they really don’t care what happens in the Eastern Sierra, no matter what they say. They would rather dump any surplus they can’t store than admit there is a surplus. Remember Chinatown? The City is taking the same stance it does with all its critics. If you don’t like what we are doing, sue us, otherwise we don’t want to hear from you.

  2. Ken Warner March 2, 2012 at 10:10 am #

    Here’s a simple idea. If there is surplus water — where does it go? L.A. can’t continue to fill their reservoirs with it if it’s truly surplus — their reservoirs would overflow. I can only assume that they are dumping surplus water into the sewer system and eventually into the ocean.

    So why not give half the projected surplus for a given year to the Owens Valley specifically let it flow into Owens Lake? Simple idea — simple process — no money lost because if it is surplus. By definition it’s not being used. LADWP still get’s the power generated from it. and Owens Lake becomes hydrated and the property around Owens lake becomes more valuable.

    Doesn’t that meet the definition of “Greater Good”?

  3. inyoindian March 1, 2012 at 1:37 pm #

    They had so much inside info its not even funny. Lippincott had some farmers under the impression they were selling land cause BOR was doing a study on water in valley. He worked for BOR so he also had inside scoop on the individuals of who to buy land from first. They started from the top of who had most land and water rights and worked there way down the list.

    So whatever we can do to at least hold them accountable for what they have done to the valley out of there benefit is only right!

    I could care less what those on the LADWP payroll have to say, for the fact there views have been comprimised!!!!!

  4. Ken Warner March 1, 2012 at 11:42 am #

    Don’t let anybody tell you that the drying up of Owens Lake is part of a natural process. And don’t let anybody tell you that the greater good is served by destroying the Owens Valley. Conservation of water, recycling and water desalinization plants along the coast could reduce the need of Owens Valley water by enough to rehydrate Owens Lake and maintain Mono Lake at higher levels.

    Remember they have access to Colorado River water though the Metropolitan Water District that serves most of SoCal. LADWP is mostly concerned today with maintaining their water empire just for the sake of those who benefit from that empire.

    The aqueduct was sold to the citizens of Los Angeles as vital to the growth of the city. However, unknown to the public, the initial water would be used to irrigate the San Fernando Valley to the north, which was not at the time a part of the city. A syndicate of investors (again, close friends of Eaton, including Harrison Gray Otis) bought up large tracts of land in the San Fernando Valley with this inside information. This syndicate made substantial efforts to the passage of the bond issue that funded the aqueduct, including creating a false drought (by manipulating rainfall totals) and publishing scare articles in the Los Angeles Times, which Otis published.

    So much water was taken from the valley that the farmers and ranchers rebelled in 1924. A series of provocations by Mullholland were each followed by threats and Los Angeles property destruction by the local farmers. Finally, a group of armed ranchers seized the Alabama Gates and dynamited part of the system, letting water return to the Owens River.

    This armed rebellion was for naught, and by 1926, Owens Lake at the bottom of the valley was completely dry. By 1928, Los Angeles owned 90 percent of the water in Owens Valley. Agriculture in the valley was effectively dead.

    • Rob March 1, 2012 at 12:38 pm #

      Hey Ken LADWP isn’t interested in anything but getting all the water they can from their cheapest water source; The Owen’s Valley.

      I don’t like it, but I also don’t see it ever changing. The bottom line is it’s about money. LADWP has other options they just don’t like the price.

      • Ken Warner March 1, 2012 at 4:12 pm #

        All true. But I think the OV can find redress. It would just take smarter, stronger people. Which I can’t figure out why we don’t have those kind of people in our local government. Maybe Benett should run for supervisor of Inyo.

    • Big AL March 1, 2012 at 10:46 pm #

      Ken, the Owens Valley has been drying up for eons, this used to be part of a vast sea in ancient times. But, the fact also remains, as well, LA is drying it up at a much higher rate, than nature is.

      • Ken Warner March 2, 2012 at 2:25 am #

        Of course, but in 1913 when the aqueduct was finished, it was a navigable lake with ferries transporting goods and materials between Keeler and Cartago. In 1926 — 13 years later — it was dry. That not the natural process.

        Go to Mono Lake Park on the North side of Mono Lake. Walk down the boardwalk to the water’s edge was in 1939 and then keep walking 100 yards further to where the water’s edge is now. Not a natural process but the results of LADWP’s diversion of the inflows into Mono Lake.

  5. Pat Rowbottom March 1, 2012 at 5:54 am #

    Mammoth Town should fight this case based on “Riparian Rights” ie. ” surface water is to be used for the benefit of the land it passes over and then what is not used to sustain life and vegetation is to be returned to the water conduit for the next user downstream. Also…the source of the “water shed and creek bed” does not belong to LADWP, as I believe that belongs to the US Forest Service (National Government). A creek bed course cannot be changed without going through the Army Corps of Engineers.
    Also…as I read it the first time proof might be found from documents that LADWP does NOT have qualified Title to Mammoth Creek. When did that happen..did someone say 1947? The Fed. Gov. has power to condemn land, like they did with Rush Creek basin back in late twenties for transport to LA, from the ranchers there. (which was rigged and unfair). The Forest Service might consider a similar action and favor the Town of Mammoth this time around?


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