LADWP to file second suit against Mammoth Community Water District

ladwp

Officials at LADWP headquarters hired a major law firm to get Mammoth's water.

In its tradition of bullying small towns to grab their water, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s latest victim is Mammoth Lakes and its water district.  LA filed suit to claim that all of Mammoth Creek water belongs to the City of LA, not Mammoth Community Water District.  Without the creek, the Town could not survive. Now, the water district manager says LA will launch a second legal attack – this time, on the Town’s Urban Water Management Plan.

As drought looms statewide, LADWP has hired a high-powered environmental law firm to do battle in lawsuits related to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).  Last month, LA filed a legal challenge to Mammoth Community Water District’s Environmental Impact Report on Mammoth Creek fishery flows.  LA’s argument?  They own all of Mammoth Creek water, so Mammoth has no right to determine fishery flows.

Mammoth has learned that LADWP will pay $450,000 to Meyers-Nave, a mega law firm that deals with CEQA suits.  This firm will fight Mammoth. Greg Norby, manager of the water district, said that LA has indicated to Mammoth Community Water District that the City will file a second lawsuit this week.  The suit will challenge the District’s 2010 Urban Water Management Plan, a state-mandated document.  Manager Norby said the plan is a supply and demand analysis through build-out of Mammoth which relies on Mammoth Creek water rights.  LADWP claims the City owns those rights so the plan is not legal.

Norby disagrees and said Mammoth began using Mammoth Creek water in 1947 and continued to establish rights through the State over the years.  LA never challenged those rights until now.  On top of the threat of a second suit, LADWP lawyers have hit the Water District with two major public records requests which have tied up many staff and legal team resources.  Norby said LA apparently wants to make Mammoth ineligible for state grants by invaliding the Water Management Plan.  This could result in a $100,000 loss.

When asked to comment on LADWP’s attack on the main source of water for Mammoth Lakes and its famous ski area, attorney Amrit Kulkarni declined to comment.  LA and MCWD will meet in a mandatory settlement conference February 21st at the offices of Mammoth’s attorney in Sacramento.

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Trouble
Trouble
10 years ago

There is clearly one to many JJ’s here. Since I don’t agree with much the other JJ has to say, my new name will be Trouble.

Big AL
Big AL
10 years ago
Reply to  Trouble

Yeah trouble, I guess that can be a problem, that explains why sometime, I see good post from JJ and then others totally a crock. It seems, that maybe moderation can fix that problem in the future by insuring names and alias’ can’t be duplicated in such a way.

JJ
JJ
10 years ago

If DWP owns the water right, then it is their property and they should be compensated for its use by the Town of Mammoth. I’m surprised to see the mcwd manager comment on this page, I would have assumed that his attorney would have advised silence during pending litigation.

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
10 years ago
Reply to  JJ

JJ, The dispute is over who does own the water rights. The Town of Mammoth claims the rights by use and state documentation. LA has come forward to claim the rights as well. We don’t know, yet, how all of this will unfold. The Water District Manager shared important public… Read more »

Trouble
Trouble
10 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

Bennett, I luv the way you started out this article. Your first sentence I believe is a fair way to describe DWP’s actions and behavior over the years. It is clearly a bold statement. I hope the courts recognize it.

Big AL
Big AL
10 years ago
Reply to  JJ

What did he say wrong JJ? What did he divulge? In my point of view, your track record on these posts seems to just sling mud. Just saying.

sierragrl
sierragrl
10 years ago

While I thank Sierra Wave for being a LADWP watchdog, I have a problem with the ‘looming drought’ comment….One low year should not a drought make! These days it seems anything below average gets the drought card played, even though, obviously, half the years have to be below average, otherwise… Read more »

Jon
Jon
10 years ago

Of course LADWP wants the water; whether it has been diligent enough keeping up its alleged water rights to get that water is the question. This could be an interesting water lawsuit, since it seems to pit the two primary tenents of Wester Water Law against each other. In California… Read more »

Michael J Ahles
Michael J Ahles
10 years ago

Water Right

I think it only natural that all life have an equitable right to the water we live and drink. And that One life believes they have a greater right than another, would be unnatural, untrue, or unjust at best.
One is truly All,

=

STEVEN
STEVEN
10 years ago

Mark my words. Bad carma will come to that City. Just like it did here.

Roy
Roy
10 years ago

I’m convinced the DWP is doing everything they can to destroy and ruin the communities in Inyo and Mono County. No one will ever convince me that the DWP really cares about the Eastern Sierras, all they want is the water…..

Big AL
Big AL
10 years ago
Reply to  Roy

It’s all about the water, yes. About destroying the valley’s community, towns, cities, no I don’t think they really put that much thought into that part, they probably know if they drain the water, they get money, if the community dries up here, more water down the tube to LA.… Read more »

Big AL
Big AL
10 years ago
Reply to  Big AL

I meant Roy, not Rob.

OV5G
OV5G
10 years ago
Reply to  Big AL

You can camp on much of the federal lands that surround us, not the case on DWP land.

Reality Bites
Reality Bites
10 years ago
Reply to  Roy

“Whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting over” Mark Twain

Reality Bites
Reality Bites
10 years ago

Willam Mullholland’s DNA still runs deep in LADWP. Remember what Mullholland said about the Ownens Valley water; “There it is. Take it!”

JJ
JJ
10 years ago

DWP’s new slogan: Hit them when their down. It only took them 50 plus years to file this lawsuit. I believe I only have 2 years to file a civil lawsuit. What the heck?

Eastern Sierra local
Eastern Sierra local
10 years ago

So while Mammoth is “down” (with the MLLA $30 million judgement) LADWP comes in for the kill…..more proof that the City of LA doesn’t care about the fragile tourist based economy in the Eastern Sierra.

Big AL
Big AL
10 years ago

No Sierra local, it has nothing to do with tourism and the money made off of the tourist here, or that tourists come here to recreate.
It has to do with the LADWP wanting money for some sort of breech of contract or similar disagreement.

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
10 years ago
Reply to  Big AL

Al,
Not sure what you’re saying here. LADWP wants the water.
BK

P&B
P&B
10 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

At $650.00 per acre foot rate charged to it’s customers – ALL LADWP is concerned about is the money they will make….and right now Mammoth is in the way. Same ol, same ol..song and dance.

Big AL
Big AL
10 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

Well yeah Benett, ok, but my point is, it has nothing to do with DWP wanting to hurt business here, as much as it is, their greed for the water, as you say. And ML wants the water too. So .. hense the disagreement. Maybe not a breech of contract… Read more »

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
10 years ago

Maybe LADWP’s lawsuits and the MLLA forced bankruptcy will finally squeeze the carpet baggers out of town. And fair thee well….

kaat
kaat
10 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

Ken- a bad outcome with this could squeeze ALL OF US out of town !!!

….and Mammoth will just become a suburb of LA and/or it’s personal City Hall in which it’s rich politicians will live and play ….

…what an awful thought…..

Mammoth FIGHT this thing!

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
10 years ago
Reply to  kaat

Nonsense. Mammoth Lakes gets all of it’s tap water from wells — not from Mammoth Creek. Snowcreek Golf Course diverts some water from Mammoth Creek. There might be other issues. But our water — as far as I know — comes from legal wells tapping ground water. Here’s a thought… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
10 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

MCWD’s manager said that Mammoth Creek supplies most of the Town’s water and is the “only reliable source of water”.

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
10 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

MCWD’s manager said that Mammoth Creek is the major source of water for the town and the only “reliable source”. Groundwater is a small part of the Town’s supply.
Benett Kessler

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
10 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

Ok, I did a little research (like I should have done first) and this EIR describes MCWD’s source as Lake Mary with permits to divert 2760 acre feet per year. So I don’t understand LADWP’s assertion that all of Mammoth Creek water is theirs. http://www.mcwd.dst.ca.us/ProjectsReports/EIR-MammCreek/Mammoth%20Creek%20EIR%20Section%201,2,3.pdf There is also a system… Read more »

Rob
Rob
10 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

That is the bright side to DWP Ken. And if you’re lucky enough to land a job with them that allows you to live in the Eastern Sierra it’s that much better.

greg norby
greg norby
10 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

Ken- Mammoth Lakes has averaged about 50% surface water use over the past 5 years. Prior to 1990, MCWD had no groundwater wells, and relied 100% on Mammoth Creek surface water under its state water rights. Since 1990, the District has deveoped 9 production wells, which supplement the Mammoth Creek… Read more »

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
10 years ago
Reply to  greg norby

Thanks for that Greg. I take the water supply for granted. I shouldn’t.