Letter to the Editor: Inyo Supervisors must act

– Submitted by Daniel Pritchett

Supervisors must act promptly to challenge DWP

DWP released its final 2015-2016 Operations Plan last week.  As expected, it includes enormous (57%) reductions in Owens Valley irrigation water. Under the Inyo LA Water Agreement (LTWA), these cuts must be approved by the Standing Committee.  The Standing Committee has not approved the cuts and without such approval the reductions are a flagrant violation of the LTWA.


Inyo County has yet to address this violation.  It has neither notified DWP its plan is inconsistent with the LTWA, nor gone to court to seek an injunction.  Inyo Supervisors have an obligation to enforce the LTWA and failure to do so is a betrayal of the public trust.

Withholding irrigation water will have devastating consequences to our agricultural economy and is not necessary: There is more than enough water in Long Valley Reservoir to supply this year’s irrigation obligations.

In addition to disclosing 57% cuts in OV irrigation, DWP’s Operations Plan discloses DWP will reduce domestic water supply in LA by less than 10%.  This is not even close to Governor Brown’s mandated 25% reduction.  Shared sacrifice, indeed!

For years, Inyo Supervisors have paid lip service to supporting agriculture and ranching while ignoring credible complaints of irrigation reductions in violation of the LTWA.  This has to stop.  Please contact your Supervisor and remind him that enforcing the LTWA is not optional and that the county must take immediate action to challenge DWP’s illegal reductions in irrigation.


Daniel Pritchett

Bishop, CA

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10 Responses to Letter to the Editor: Inyo Supervisors must act

  1. Daris May 29, 2015 at 6:47 am #

    Thanks Dan. It is time for the Inyo County Board of Supervisors to step up and not only make DWP comply with the LTWA but they them selves should be held accountable for not implementing the LTWA when violations are brought to their attention.

  2. Trouble May 29, 2015 at 5:21 am #

    DWP’s true colors start creeping out again. I’ll call it Greedy Green!

  3. easystrider May 28, 2015 at 8:30 am #

    In a previous letter Mr. Pritchett pointed out that:
    “They seem to have forgotten that the irrigation to be sacrificed is itself mitigation for previous “unshared sacrifice” inflicted by DWP.”

    Exactly, LA DWP wants to us to double down on our “share” of unmitigated sacrifice while they play a shell game by not counting the acre feet in storage reservoirs, and I read in yesterday’s LA Times hey are now recommending a paltry 10 percent reduction down there. So much for honesty. Meanwhile the County administration seems to have forgotten to remember that they are not The County, the are hired representatives; hired to look out for the people and resources they do represent. This mitigation is necessary to comply with a court order which sets limits on dust.
    Some of this irrigation is is in locations, from Laws to Lone Pine, where dust blowing across highways was resulting in traffic accidents, and road closures. Can the decision makers really make a decision to go back to those conditions? This new crop of leaders never saw conditions as they were before, and did not see the battles it took to implement this mitigation.

  4. Ben Holgate May 28, 2015 at 7:00 am #

    Thank you Mr. Pritchett. It may very well be that the County needs to make a formal demand of the City before the clock runs out or get an agreement from LADWP to waive timelines. The LTWA is like most other agreements in that the enforcement mechanisms requires timeliness. Otherwise a clear violation will go unchallenged and the agreement unenforced.

    • Philip Anaya May 28, 2015 at 4:22 pm #

      The Sierra Wave story “Update from Standing Committee” dated May 11, 2015,


      contains the report of Inyo County’s efforts with respect to the Ranchers need for irrigation water . “In a Committee structure that requires agreement between the City and the County , Los Angeles voted no on Inyo’s motion to reduce the normal water supplied for irrigation by 20 % or 39,200 acre feet….”
      Mr. Pritchett stating, “For years ,Inyo Supervisors have paid lip service to supporting agriculture and ranching while ignoring credible complaints of irrigation reductions….” must mean that he may have missed this report. The Sierra Wave Report also included, “The Inyo Board of Supervisors would consider additional , reasonable water reductions to irrigation ,enhancement mitigation and other projects associated with the Long Term Water Agreement, including an updated LADWP Operations Plan ,to be decided at the June Meeting “. (the upcoming Standing Committee Meeting , June 4 at 11 am in Independence)
      Both the Inyo Board and the Inyo Water Department are working tirelessly for the Owens Valley . This “Inyo Supervisors must act” letter to the editor as well intentioned as it may be is an inaccurate portrayal of the efforts of the Inyo Board . Why wouldn’t everyone in the Owens Valley have their back in this upcoming decision of the sustainability of the Owens Valley Agriculture Community. Why wouldn’t anyone who has a good idea ,a comment or a solution for this 4th year drought attend the next Standing Committee Meeting and offer some words during the public comment period. June 4th, 11am in Independence. Bet every Supe will be there to hear what you have to say .

  5. Michael Prather May 27, 2015 at 8:19 pm #

    1.) The Inyo/LA Standing Committee will meet June 4th and irrigation will be on the agenda.
    2.) April 28th Inyo County sent a letter to Los Angeles describing the irrigation cutoff as a, “flagrant violation” of the Long-term Water Agreement.
    3.) LA can conserve more water and they will. They are currently using the same amount of water as they did 30 years ago with 1,000,000 more citizens.
    4.) Los Angeles is currently relying on the Eastern Sierra for 1/3 of its water – a 50% reduction from historical levels.
    5.) For years the Inyo County Board of Supervisors has stood up in defense of ranching and agriculture.

    They deserve thanks, not misinformed criticism.

    • High Water May 28, 2015 at 10:45 pm #

      I love it!! As soon as folks start to question there govt. Someone runs to their defense and hurls insults of being misinformed.
      Someone disagrees and there misinformed. The letter to the editor was fact and since you could not attack his points you throw out your meaningless stats as the “gospel”

      The people are waking up slowly but surely we are waking up.

  6. Philip Anaya May 27, 2015 at 6:13 pm #

    Is 49,000 AF of irrigation water, what Ranchers receive in a normal year ? Does everyone in California have to reduce their water consumption by 25% ? Jim Yannotta say that the maximum amount of water that they could make available for irrigation this year was 32,500 AF ? Did he say that before the US Weather Service reported the wettest May ever ,a record,in Bishop ? Could DWP make a new “Precipitation Projection” based on the wettest May on Record ? Is there 102,594 AF in Crowley (Long Valley Reservoir) today ? Was there 102,001 AF in Crowley one week ago on may 20,2015 ? Are there things being discussed maybe even today decided at a MOU meeting to save AF on the Lorp
    A simple answer to all these questions is yes

    If the Ranchers could agree if they can survive with a 27.6 % reduction, that would mean that DWP would need to provide 35,500 AF for vital agriculture economic activity . 35,500 AF is only 3,000 more than 32,500 AF . Come on DWP, Inyo BoS. Nature is thankfully blessing us with an unexpected increased precipitation. 35-5, Keep the Owens Valley Alive

  7. High Water May 27, 2015 at 5:51 pm #

    After watching our Senators fast track a trade bill which no one can say what’s in it, or they will be arrested. After watching a former Sec. Of state destroy emails and watching the IRS commissioner do the same. See the pattern here?
    No one in Govt. Cares about law or water agreements. They’ve been bought off. Tell LA they nigged on the agreement! They will say SO what!
    What’s sad is that you fine sir, Mr. Pritchett have to post a letter to the editor to remind the Supervisors and legal council of something they should’ve known
    See the pattern here? My post may come off wrong to some of you but there is alot of truth if you stop and think about it.

    Not sure what district you reside in sir but if you have the time you would make a fine (public servant) something that’s been forgotten about.
    It’s public service. Not a 20 yr. Career. Just my opinion.

    • Mark May 28, 2015 at 11:22 am #

      You forgot about Loris Lerner taking the 5th when asked questions about the job she was hired and paid to do. The lady should be have been fired, lost her pension and arrested. It’s one thing to claim the 5th in a criminal proceeding but she was only being asked questions about her job!


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