Letter: ‘Locally sourced water’

Letter to the Editor

– Submitted by Daniel Pritchett

Just a century ago, Owens Lake was a spectacular inland sea, teeming with life. After DWP reduced Owens Valley to a colony and dried the lake, its bed became the largest source of health-threatening dust in the nation. To mitigate the dust, DWP has been forced to agree to endless cycles of flooding, bulldozing, and manipulation of the lake bed.

A proposal to fill the lake with seawater via a new aqueduct has recently been circulating in both electronic and print media.

There is a much better way to fill the lake and mitigate dust. The billions of dollars DWP will have to continue spending on dust mitigation could, instead, be invested in re-engineering LA’s water system for recycling, conservation, and storm water capture. This would eventually free the city from its dependence on Eastern Sierra water and allow the cost-free miracle of gravity to once again fill (by means of Owens River and Sierran creeks) Owens Lake and mitigate dust.

There is sufficient money and ingenuity in Los Angeles to do this. What is lacking is the political will to make the investment. But even that may not be in as short supply as it seems. The rhetoric coming from LA these days is all about “locally sourced water” and “reducing dependence on imported water.” Mayor Garcetti and DWP even have a “Sustainability Officer.”

Of course, talk is cheap. DWP claims Eastern Sierra water is not “imported” and so therefore not subject to its “reduce dependence on imported water” goal. No doubt DWP even claims its exploitation of Owens Valley is “sustainable.”

And even while LA’s green rhetoric is decidedly 21st century, its colonial rule of Owens Valley remains back in the 19th. Since World War II, all the world’s major colonial powers have lost their colonies. Los Angeles, on the other hand, continues to enlarge its Owens Valley colony and drill ever more wells. Talk about being on the “wrong side of history”!

The inescapable implication of LA’s commitment to “locally sourced water” is that the city must overcome its dependence on Eastern Sierra water and associated colonial rule. Our task must be to insist DWP and LA leaders acknowledge this and start investing accordingly. This won’t be easy, and many readers may dismiss the idea as unrealistic. However, I suggest insisting LA honor its own rhetoric is more realistic than the alternative: accepting the status quo and pretending current management agreements under colonial rule will avert the slow-motion disaster of desiccation and desertification we are already experiencing.

Daniel Pritchett

Bishop, CA

, , ,

13 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Trouble
Trouble
7 years ago

Thanks Russy, I’m just more likely to get caught running from the law ,then for the law!

Trouble
Trouble
7 years ago

Yes Russ, if we make it threw one more drought year, I figure I can buy my votes while handing out bottled water on Main st.

Russ Monroe
Russ Monroe
7 years ago
Reply to  Trouble

You don’t need to buy my vote Trouble! You earn it every time you pen a logical, thoughtful response and post it here. I wish to hell that I could find, even one, politician that would do the same.

Pedro
Pedro
7 years ago

American settlers had already “colonized” “Owens Valley” and diverted the water after driving the previous farmers from the land. Live by the sword, die by the sword. The lake would be dry and/or filled with sewage and pesticide laden agricultural runoff by now even if LA never existed. Take a… Read more »

Trouble
Trouble
7 years ago

The County and it’s voters could erase those fears in one election!

Russ Monroe
Russ Monroe
7 years ago
Reply to  Trouble

So true Trouble…..
Unfortunately: could, is a long way from will.
Maybe if You ran?
How about it Trouble? I suspect that you would pull more votes here than it took to put our incumbent in office.

J. Harris
J. Harris
7 years ago

At the risk of hurting anyones feelings with facts, I should point out that if LADWP ceases to need water from the Owens Valley, they will likely sell it off. When they sell it off, the best case scenario will be similar California’s central coast. Largely privately owned, and fenced… Read more »

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
7 years ago
Reply to  J. Harris

Yep! But a lot of people don’t see it as clearly as you do. They think that the valley will just sit there untouched.

Michael Prather
Michael Prather
7 years ago
Reply to  J. Harris

An opportunity was missed twice a number of years ago that would have led to a conservation easement on LADWP lands in Inyo and Mono.This would have precluded development in the future while allowing continued land and water ownership. Sadly this idea was beat back by locals here and by… Read more »

Charles O. Jones
Charles O. Jones
7 years ago
Reply to  J. Harris

I share your concerns, J. Harris.

IMO, LADWP is clearly the lesser of two, (or more) evils.

BishopBeans
BishopBeans
7 years ago
Reply to  J. Harris

LA will never have a source of water as cheap as Owens Valley water. They will always divert the water and they will never sell the land–the water is too valuable. On the other hand, if there is no water, no one would buy the land. DWP is the worst… Read more »

Philip Anaya
Philip Anaya
7 years ago

Meanwhile in the San Fernando Valley and in the Owens Valley the heat is on and the infrastructure is straining to provide water for the millions at the terminus of the LA Aqueduct . Like Daniel we are all keeping an eye on the LADWP and the water for Ranchers… Read more »

Mark
Mark
7 years ago

“instead, be invested in re-engineering LA’s water system ”

We can dream can’t we..