Letter to Sierra Wave from LADWP

– The following letter was written by James G. Yannotta, Manager Of Aqueduct, Los Angeles Department of Water Power:

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) is providing this letter to the editor in response to the May 5, 2013 Sierra Wave story titled “Inyo officials concerned about environment, water agreement” because the story includes comments and misconceptions on how LADWP manages groundwater pumping, vegetation conditions in the Owens Valley, and the Water Agreement. Concerns are often expressed about low groundwater levels and vegetation damage, but across the Owens Valley this is generally not the case.

DWP Aqueduct Manager James Yannotta

DWP Aqueduct Manager James Yannotta

LADWP remains committed to all provisions of the Water Agreement, a document that was forged from over 25 years of negotiations involving representatives from both Inyo County and Los Angeles. The Water Agreement is clear in stating that management of water resources in the Owens Valley must balance providing a reliable supply of water for Inyo County and Los Angeles, while avoiding significant changes in vegetation and the environment that cannot be mitigated. Although this past winter was the second very low precipitation year in a row, conditions in the Owens Valley are relatively stable considering the dry conditions. While this year’s Owens River Basin runoff is just 47% of normal, LADWP is working diligently to meet its water supply obligations in the Eastern Sierra.

Currently, based on vegetation parcels monitored by LADWP throughout the Owens Valley, total live vegetation cover in LADWP’s wellfields is approximately 34% compared to 35% in these same parcels during 1984-87, which is a period of time which is used for comparison according to the Water Agreement. Vegetation cover values should also be considered in the context of the ambient conditions at the time. Precipitation immediately preceding and during the 1984-87 period was unusually high in the Eastern Sierra. Snowpack runoff between 1982 and 1987 averaged about 135% of normal. Abundant water was available in the Owens Valley that provided very favorable conditions for native vegetation.

Reviewing groundwater pumping, precipitation runoff, vegetation cover inventory, and depth to groundwater from the 1991 to the present shows that LADWP has conscientiously and carefully considered important factors before establishing annual pumping plans. LADWP has a good track record over the last 20 years on how it has managed the over 300,000 acres of City-owned land and the Owens Valley Groundwater Basin, despite what some people may have been led to believe. All wellfields have groundwater levels that are higher than when the Water Agreement was enacted.

This year, LADWP anticipates pumping in the range of 71,000 to 79,000 acre-feet. Last year groundwater pumping was just under 89,000 acre-feet. Comparing this to past groundwater pumping which duringi 984-87 averaged 112,000 acre-feet per year shows that LADWP is being responsible with groundwater pumping in the Owens Valley.

LADWP continues to be attentive to problem areas such as Laws. Blackrock is performing as expected 21 years ago and was mitigated for by providing a fish hatchery and the Lower Owens River Project. LADWP is willing to work jointly with Inyo County to resolve any issues at Blackrock.

Most of the groundwater pumped and surface water diverted by LADWP stays in the Owens Valley for agriculture, irrigation, enhancement and mitigation projects, town supplies, and other uses. This year LADWP expects to supply over 104,000 acre-feet for Owens Valley uses, not including Owens Lake, while exporting much less, only about 67,000 acre-feet, for Los Angeles’ municipal supply, which is the by far the lowest amount ever exported to Los Angeles.

Sincerely,

James G Yannotta

Manager of Aqueduct

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power

 

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56 Comments
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Daris
Daris
9 years ago

Does anyone know what happened at the May 20th standing committee meeting with regard to reduction in irrigation and mitigation water? These were on the agenda as action items.

Tim
Tim
9 years ago

Have you seen this? These people have re-watered an area near Cartago and created a duck club. “With the recently completed 140+ Acres of Ponds, the South Owens Lake area has experienced a re-birth in wildlife population. Founded by Tony, Kathie, and Elizabeth Haralambos and Jim and James Barger, it… Read more »

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
9 years ago

All great ideas. The central valley of California uses a lot of water for agriculture. I don’t know how there could be enough hydroponic facilities to replace the whole central valley but it could be reduced by some incrementally over time. Low flow toilets need a redesign. Usually people flush… Read more »

Tim
Tim
9 years ago

What if people with swimming pools recycled their grey water and used the pools as their personal recycled water reservoirs? That would turn a water waste system into a water conservation giant.
http://www.environment.ucla.edu/reportcard/article.asp?parentid=4870

http://www.purewater2000.com/index.html

Valkyrie
Valkyrie
9 years ago

Hey DWP- Have you ever considered algae production on Owens Lake? It might keep dust down, and provide fuel for your power plants or funding to purchase water from the Delta. Then that water you are using on the Lake wouldn’t be “wasted”, in your words. Of course, NO PUMPING… Read more »

Tim
Tim
9 years ago
Reply to  Valkyrie

Valkyrie,
That is exactly what I am talking about, people sharing ideas openly in the public forum. DWP knows the problems are not going away and that they need community support to solve them. We the users must engage and become a real part of the process.

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
9 years ago
Reply to  Valkyrie

Another great idea. You guys are cooking today.

Algae is going to be important in the future for both food and energy. Nice thinking.

MJA
MJA
9 years ago

” this agreement isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.”

It is time to write a new agreement, One that is worthy;
The Inyo needs it to survive.

=

Tim
Tim
9 years ago

Have you seen the Dylan Ratigan TV spots on hydroponic farming? Apparently Marijuana cultivation has substantially lowered the cost of hydroponic agriculture allowing Dylan Ratigan to profitably grow food using the method. Being that agriculture is responsible for HALF of our water usage, I feel this is a significant breakthrough.… Read more »

Tim
Tim
9 years ago

A friend who lives in LA told me today that 10 years ago LADWP was going door to door with free water saving toilets; it is beginning to sound like LA has been in emergency mode for quite some time. My friend did not take the toilet but instead went… Read more »

Tim
Tim
9 years ago

The T of R did not like my idea and schooled me on their policy; Thank you for contacting the Tournament of Roses and for sharing your concerns about our water supply. It is the privilege of the Tournament of Roses President to choose the theme and Grand Marshal for… Read more »

Big AL
Big AL
9 years ago

LA .. and San Diego are jointly doing the same thing to the Salton Sea. They have pretty much nailed the last nail for the sea, with diverting water that was supposed to go to the surrounding areas of farm land there. The Salton Sea was created by a mistake… Read more »

Tim
Tim
9 years ago

Here is a copy of the letter I just emailed to Redford Foundation and The Tournament of Roses Association; Dear T of R, Our Western United States is currently experiencing a water emergency, we have used much of our surplus which has permanently dried once full lakes such as the… Read more »

Buck Turgidson
Buck Turgidson
9 years ago

I am wondering if folks reading this are buying these figures being thrown out there. Is DWP really only exporting only 67k afy to LA this year? That’s down from 200k plus in recent history? Does that fugure include water extracted from the Mono basin? I’m guessing not. How does… Read more »

landthatIlove
landthatIlove
9 years ago

The Good, Bad and the Ugly… The good-if LADWP did not buy up the land and water, it would be a concrete jungle and you just might see the beautiful mountains between the buildings….the land in the OV is for the most part still public land with a few locked… Read more »

Tim
Tim
9 years ago
Reply to  landthatIlove

Who better to fix a problem than the group that helped create it?

Tim
Tim
9 years ago

I just heard rumor that the Caltrans pull-out with water education at Owens Lake is in the works. It is to be part of the Olancha / Cartago project

Mike
Mike
9 years ago
Reply to  Tim

There are Cal Trans mitigation dollars from a number of years ago that have been designated for use by DFW at Cartago Springs.

Tim
Tim
9 years ago

Good job Waxlips, LADWP even screws Vets!

OV5G
OV5G
9 years ago

If you ever need someone to tell you it’s raining while they are urinating on your leg…just call LADWP! So much greed and malarkey.

Buck Turgidson
Buck Turgidson
9 years ago

There is myth being propagated in some of these comments. The IBEW local that represents LADWP employees maybe one of the more powerful in CA. But that’s not why they have rich pensions. They have really nice pensions because they are employed by a wealthy public agency. City Water and… Read more »

Mark
Mark
9 years ago
Reply to  Buck Turgidson

“LADWP is governed about as well or poorly as any other electric system, public or private, and it does give the city $200 million a year.”

http://www.masterresource.org/2010/04/ladwp-vs-los-angeles-expensive-renewables-hit-the-fan/

Buck Turgidson
Buck Turgidson
9 years ago
Reply to  Mark

There’s no context in that article. You can read CA municipal law. DWP isn’t allowed to “give” the City anything. Municipalities may bill a utility enterprise fund for general fund fees and services such as legal, HR, rent, insurance, taxes and permits. Period. Enterprise isn’t a slush fund for services… Read more »

Waxlips
Waxlips
9 years ago

Here is a look at what some of the LA residents are saying about DWP. There is even a post about the Owens Valley.
http://www.consumeraffairs.com/utilities/ladwp.html

Fiat Justicia
Fiat Justicia
9 years ago

While LADWP’s Mr. Jim Yanotta is to be commended for attempting to communicate with the colonial subjects in Inyo County, his facts are in doubt and his arguments are specious. Owens Valley’s residents are experiencing fear, dissatisfaction and anger at the highhanded tactics and single-minded mission of Los Angeles in… Read more »

Tim
Tim
9 years ago
Reply to  Fiat Justicia

Fiat Justicia,
I am 50+ and remember a completely different Owens Valley in the late 60’s; even then it was a miraculous place where wetlands met the desert. Thank you for your comprehensive and well written post, I thoroughly enjoyed it and rest in your shadow.

anachronism
anachronism
9 years ago
Reply to  Fiat Justicia

The misinformation in Mr. Yannotta’s letter needs to be counteracted. That is why it is important that this video series gets funded.
Here is the link. Be sure and watch the “Two Faced Video” in the updates.
http://igg.me/at/slake

Mark
Mark
9 years ago
Reply to  Fiat Justicia

If it’s true Bishop Golf Course hasn’t been paying for water they have had a hec of a profit advantage as they charge as much or more then courses down South.

Do I see a price increase in the future?

Trouble
Trouble
9 years ago
Reply to  Mark

Mark- you forget that all of the City of Bishop does not have to pay for any of their water. Plus they could always put in their own wells. The City of Bishop charges to maintain their system. DWP does not own all the water rights from what I understand.… Read more »

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
9 years ago
Reply to  Fiat Justicia

You conveniently forgot to mention that when LA planned and built the second aquaduct pipe they did so to stave off efforts of several other water agencies to claim LA had abandoned part of their water rights. Under wester water law, first in use is first in right, but to… Read more »

Tim
Tim
9 years ago

That is a really good suggestion regarding Inyo/ Mono water usage; The Owens Valley needs to lead and not follow. Valley conservation efforts should outpace Los Angeles 2 to 1. Creative solutions should be ground breaking and news worthy. -Residential grey-water recycling. -Shower shut off (as opposed to low flow)… Read more »

Deserts lack water
Deserts lack water
9 years ago

Desert Tortoise – With all due respect, Mono County is the ultimate source of water use. Awareness of this fact has prompted our golf courses to use recycled water only. There is no water-hoarding going on in the county as some are accusing. Common sense would dictate that when a… Read more »

salblaster
salblaster
9 years ago

This morning on nbc channel 4 L.A. they interviewed Garcetti the guy behind all those anti greuel comercials, and what it sounded like to me was his beef with dwp was over the brotherhood of electrical workers union which covers dwp employees. He was saying their pension plans were costing… Read more »

Tim
Tim
9 years ago

Salblaster, LADWP is the 13th most hated company in America; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/11/ladwp-rated-thirteenth-mo_n_895105.html The commercials are a political ploy to smear a candidate; any mayoral candidate will need to negotiate DWP because it is an important revenue source for the city. City council wants low prices and huge entitlements, DWP needs to… Read more »

J-Frog
J-Frog
9 years ago
Reply to  Tim

Hats off to you Tim,
Your comments are much appreciated in my book.
Thank You!

Waxlips
Waxlips
9 years ago
Reply to  Tim

An idea. If we start a committee, the People for the Preservation of the Eastern Sierra. We could include the Mono Lake Committee, the People for the Preservation of the Mono Basin and the Owens Valley Committee. While I wasn’t always on board with all of the things the Mono… Read more »

Tim
Tim
9 years ago
Reply to  Waxlips

Solidarity is a good idea Waxlips, how do we get these groups and people together?
What is in it for them?

anachronism
anachronism
9 years ago
Reply to  Waxlips

The residents of Inyo and Mono County were asleep at the wheel when LA DWP pressured the state legislators to change the California State Constitution back in the mid sixties: CALIFORNIA CONSTITUTION ARTICLE 13, TAXATION SEC. 11. Our most valuable resource, water, cannot be taxed at its true value. The… Read more »

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
9 years ago
Reply to  Tim

Total runoff from the mountains surrounding the LA basin and the associated aquifers will not support more than thirty percent of the current population Who are you trying to fool with your propaganda? Desalinization has a huge energy requirement. Where is all this electricity coming from? All of the coastal… Read more »

Tim
Tim
9 years ago

Ok DT, I see you do not like any of the ideas that are proposed here. Desalinization cost is down to about $800 an acre foot, this is due to implementation which promotes process evolution; http://www.newwatersupply.org/issue/desal.htm Waste from lawns accounts for 40% to 50% of household usage; why not educate… Read more »

Valkyrie
Valkyrie
9 years ago

My Goodness, Tortoise. You must mean that Los Angeles and other cities in the area had better institute controls on development right after they limit gallons per household, since water is so scarce in their area. That goes for reviving the idea of zero population growth too. Resource limitations will… Read more »

ferdinand lopez
ferdinand lopez
9 years ago

every time i visit relatives down south,and i see all the plush green lawns, i always wonder what good it realy does for the homeowner,sprinklers overwatering the useless grass,running down the sidewalks into the streets and noone seems to give a *”!!

salblaster
salblaster
9 years ago

I was watching jimi kimmel last night on abc channel 7 and got bombarded with anti wendy greuel commercials, calling her dwp’s mayor. Are the citizens of L.A. mad at dwp also. It sounded to me like they were using greuel’s association with dwp in a derogatory manor.

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
9 years ago
Reply to  salblaster

If the people of L.A. are mad at LADWP it’s only because they think they have to pay too much for water. Most of them (most likely) have no idea where their water comes from — other than that silvery thing on the sink. Owens Valley? What”s the Owens Valley?… Read more »

Tim
Tim
9 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

Ken, The articles I read on LADWP consumer approval state that the reasons for the low rating are; *LADWP is often accused of issuing bills close to the payment due date in order to collect more late fees. *Among other reasons. Google LADWP most hated company to see many results… Read more »

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
9 years ago
Reply to  Tim

I’m waving the bs flag on one of your claims. LADWP is not a company. It is a department of the City of Los Angeles answerable to an elected City Council. The real gripe of the people of LA towards LADWP is that, because the department is self funded and… Read more »

Tim
Tim
9 years ago

DT,
Your BS flag comes out too easy.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/11/ladwp-rated-thirteenth-mo_n_895105.html
Why not focus your attention on productive discussion instead of derailment?

Philip Anaya
Philip Anaya
9 years ago

Dear Mr. Yannotta, There are folks in the Owens Valley born and raised who might not appreciate a newcomer like myself from pulling the welcome mat out from under you. With that said, please read the Inyo County Water Department’s response to the DWP Pumping Plan once again. Here is… Read more »

Robert Johnson
Robert Johnson
9 years ago
Reply to  Philip Anaya

All “Flat-Landers” need to move back home to Whittier, and Simi Valley 🙂

MJA
MJA
9 years ago

Really ?

=

Tim
Tim
9 years ago

Dear James Yannotta, Please watch the National Geographic documentary titled How Nature Works or read a USGS study about the cooling effects of water on the earth’s surface. Plants, animals, and water all share dependent relationships in which our earth sustains itself and us. The Owens Valley water table and… Read more »

Tim
Tim
9 years ago
Reply to  Tim

James Y,
I apologize for the above comment; it is harsh as well as unfair to you. I wrote it from an unreasonable viewpoint. The solutions to the water problem are available to us now, education will get them implemented.
Can you help?
Thanks

Waxlips
Waxlips
9 years ago

I have a hard time believing anything DWP says. Has anyone been keeping up with the run for LA Mayor? How much was it DWP gave Wendy Greuel? In the millions. DWP is a run-away train that needs to be regulated by someone other than themselves.

john
john
9 years ago
Reply to  Waxlips

DWP did not provide any funding to any political candidate…IBEW local 18 is part of a PAC funding the election hopefuls

Badfinger760
Badfinger760
9 years ago
Reply to  Waxlips

Wow… did everybody forget who it is that provides the life giving water that ya’ll drink every day?? Without LADWP, the Owens Valley would be a very dry and thirsty place to be, and a lot of local employees would be unemployed and with no pension fund to say the… Read more »

Tim
Tim
9 years ago
Reply to  Badfinger760

Nature provides the water and plenty of it, DWP services the local customers as part of their control for export.

DWP does hire many people and may be the best employer in the valley.

Conservation and water sustanibility practices will create jobs and insure job security.