Are Owens Valley concerns really heard?

inyosupervisors4-16This week, Inyo Supervisors heard more about the Department of Water and Power’s new Owens Lake Master Project and LA’s desire to cut in half water used to control dry lake dust. They all expressed concern that some of the water savings should go to the Owens Valley and its ranchers. DWP Water Operations Director Martin Adams did not fully convey that concern to his own Board of Commissioners when he talked to them about the new dry lake plan.

Adams spoke to the Inyo Board Tuesday morning about the concept of DWP’s Owens Lake Plan. In the late afternoon, he spoke before his own Board.  In the online video of the meeting, Adams said the plan has been very well received in Inyo with only a couple of disgruntled locals. He also failed to mention ranching as part of the economy until a commissioner asked him. Adams assured his Board that Owens Valley ranchers are in favor of the dry lake plan. Adams did not say that Inyo officials, ranchers and environmentalists want a share of the dust mitigation water savings.

Adams did say that the new Owens Lake project is supported by Inyo and has “opportunities” to benefit ranching.  When asked by Commissioner Christine Noonan about outreach to the Inyo community, Adams said there were 40 or 50 people in

(l-r) Bill Van Waggoner, Owens Lake Mgr. and Water Operations Director Martin Adams at Commission meeting.

(l-r) Bill Van Wagoner, Owens Lake Mgr. and Water Operations Director Martin Adams at Commission meeting.

the audience at the Inyo Supervisors meeting.  He said ranchers were there speaking about the impacts on them from Owens Lake water use.  When asked by the Board Chair about public feedback, Adams said it was “generally good.”  He said one or two people don’t like the export of water to Los Angeles, but, he said, “They have no generational ties and they don’t understand the Long Term Water Agreement.  For the most part,” said Adams, “there has been pretty positive feedback.”  He said the Inyo Supervisors want DWP to work with local groups but “move ahead with the project.  They’re excited something is going to happen,” he said.

What Adams did not tell the Commissioners was that Inyo Supervisors pointed directly to the need for more water here as well as to a need for more trust-building by LA. Supervisor Matt Kingsley told Adams that there are “mitigation projects undone. You need to resolve that before your new project.” Supervisor Mark Tillemans said it is an issue when DWP cuts back on the ranchers, and he also questioned groundwater pumping at the dry lake.

Supervisor Jeff Griffiths said there is a trust issue with LADWP. He said, “Holding the ranchers’ water over our heads is hard to take. Your overall goals are good, but we need to trust but verify.” Adams and others have repeatedly linked water for ranchers with water used on the Owens Dry Lake for dust control, as he did in front of the LA Commissioners.

Supervisor Linda Arcularius said that she hopes Adams will soon meet with the local Owens Lake Master Plan group who has “put a lot of work into this,” she said. Arcularius also said to Adams, “You mentioned a savings of water. We hope this has positive effects in the Owens Valley.” She said agricultural leases have already suffered impacts. She called for a “re-investment in the Owens Valley.”

Supervisor Rick Pucci said to Adams, “If a project like yours saves 59% of the water on the dry lake, where does the saved water go? How is it shared? We want part, or all in the Owens Valley,” he said. Pucci said, “It’s extremely important to develop this in advance.”

Adams told Sierra Wave Media that he could not commit water to the Owens Valley and that this was up to the DWP Board. However, at his own Board meeting, Adams did not tell his officials how the Inyo Supervisors feel about wanting a share of water saved on the dry lake, dismissing any problems as coming from a couple of locals who always make negative comments.  He also did not mention repeated concerns expressed by Inyo Board members about a lack of trust in LADWP.  The LA Commissioners, who did ask about Owens Valley concerns, heard essentially there were none.  They made a motion to support the Owens Lake Master Project and urged Adams to continue working through the environmental process and to make the project “shovel ready.”

You can view the DWP Commissioners meeting and item #25 on the Owens Lake Master Project here – http://ladwp.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=306

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Anachronism
Anachronism
9 years ago

One of the troubling aspects of the Inyo/LADWP relationship is the unwillingness of the media to report the truth. Kudos to Sierra Wave for doing so. Our hometown newspaper’s headline this week-end was “Supes supportive of DWP’s Owens Lake goal”. Say what? Was the reporter even at the same meeting?… Read more »

Daris
Daris
9 years ago
Reply to  Anachronism

I also was wondering what meeting the reporter was reporting. It did not sound like it was the same 4/16 Supervisor’s meeting I was at. Their were lots of concerns and problems with DWP and the use of water in the Owens Valley. DWP is painting a glowing picture with… Read more »

Philip Anaya
Philip Anaya
9 years ago
Reply to  Daris

“but local leaders said this week they are behind the department ” I never heard that either and I was in the third row. “is a great-looking plan” maybe but only in the context that the document had some well done ilustrations and was DWP professionally prepared. “Thirsty LA” is… Read more »

Trouble
Trouble
9 years ago

I say put the signs in L.A.. Really.

tim
tim
9 years ago
Reply to  Trouble

I say do both; signs in LA and signs along 395.

Tim
Tim
9 years ago

A serious comment for you Philip Anaya. I don’t know a single person in Los Angeles who HAS NOT heard about Save Mono Lake yet I continually meet people who are unaware that Owens Lake was full prior to the aqueduct. Education and political pressure are the only things that… Read more »

Cool, clear, water
Cool, clear, water
9 years ago
Reply to  Tim

People never planned here for water.

Philip Anaya
Philip Anaya
9 years ago
Reply to  Tim

Seems like this might be a good year to teach our children, to have some curriculum in our local schools regarding the History of the Aqueduct and it’s not to late as we approach the 100 year anniversery in November, 2013. The current issues of this second year of drought… Read more »

Philip Anaya
Philip Anaya
9 years ago

A cynical approach to the perception of the water issues of Los Angeles and the Owens Valley can be entertaining, truthful and exceedingly intelligent. However, if we can apply also wisdom and solutions to difficult problems and the future, maybe there will be water for all of the people in… Read more »

Tim
Tim
9 years ago

Over 2,000,000 people travel 395 every year, many from LA.
Whatever you do, DO NOT PUT UP A SAVE OWENS LAKE or RESTORE OWENS VALLEY billboard that directs travelers to a blog and website.
People will see it and that would be bad.
Um-kay.

Elson T.
Elson T.
9 years ago

Desert Tortoise: I’m an Angeleno who actually has an attachment to the OV. You’re right, for most of us city folk, the water comes from some ambiguous, unknown place. When I visited the OV last December, everything regarding the Water Wars was suddenly real for me. I read this site… Read more »

Tim
Tim
9 years ago
Reply to  Elson T.

I live in LA and my water comes from a tube thing with funny handles on either side. Yesterday I saw a lake at the end of my driveway when grandpa was watering the driveway; is that Owens Lake? Sometimes I make a tiny pee-pee in a big bowl of… Read more »

Trouble
Trouble
9 years ago
Reply to  Tim

Tim- the next time I go tubing in the Owens ,usually around the 4th of July, I’ll think of you when I decide if I should get out to go. Be careful thou, I love to fish year round. Drink up.

Tim
Tim
9 years ago
Reply to  Trouble

Trouble is… we L-aliens drink your jenkem, go nuts, and then wonder why we are nuts. Oh well, nuthin’ I can do about it, I’ll just pour a Scotch and Trouble Tonic. (and put some damn booze in it this time!) It will be OK, in the morning I’ll follow… Read more »

Trouble
Trouble
9 years ago
Reply to  Tim

Tim- I think your more troubled than I.

Mark
Mark
9 years ago
Reply to  Trouble

I don’t conserve water but I don’t have any problem peeing in the river and give a little back.

It’s looking like this will be one of the dryiest summers we’ve seen in some time. It will also be interesting to see how much Crowley rises from it’s current level.

Tim
Tim
9 years ago

When I hear the suggestions regarding the Owens Valley It sounds like an anti-environment campaign. You know, sort of the opposite of save the whales, or yes on clean air. I think they may as well be running a campaign complete with billboards, etc that promotes the complete destruction of… Read more »

andrew R
andrew R
9 years ago

It goes in one ear and out he other, most likely they just want to let the citizens of the v alley know they are concerned. It is nmostly a formanlity in my opition.

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
9 years ago
Reply to  andrew R

Yes, but the fact that no one from Owens Valley shows up at LADWP board meetings or LA City Council meetings broadcasts to the leadership that the Owens Valley is happy with how things are. You mock the DWP for coming up here but at least they make the effort.… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
9 years ago

Suggestion – people up here need to get their own officials to notice so those officials can go to LA and make a case.
BK

Thank You
Thank You
9 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

Thank you for bringing this story to the public Benett. I hope the County Supervisors are reading!

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
9 years ago
Reply to  Thank You

They read this stuff. They will never admit it, but they do. I heard a city council member in community I won’t name call it “the network of useless information”, but believe me they read it. They live to know what people are thinking …… of them.

Steve
Steve
9 years ago

I say no new pumps, no new wells. In fact all pumps should be shut off unless the water is used for in valley uses. DWP is not doing whats best for the water shed of the Eastern Sierra when they destroy the environment by drying it up. DWP was… Read more »

drymeup
drymeup
9 years ago

@ Andrew K- But laws can easily be changed; and LADWP and the City of Los Angeles have and use highly-paid lobbyists in Sacramento. Unfortunately, however, in the Long Term Water Agreement the Inyo County Board of Superviors agreed to never seek state legislation affecting LADWP’s water rights or its… Read more »

Ex LA
Ex LA
9 years ago
Reply to  drymeup

That’s what I’ve been saying all along. I know before the last board election there was one member that leased land and recived irrigation water from DWP. This is a conflict if interest. I’m not sure how it is today however, if anyone on on any committee that is intended… Read more »

Mike
Mike
9 years ago
Reply to  Ex LA

@ Ex LA

“I know before the last board election there was one member that leased land and recived irrigation water from DWP. This is a conflict if interest.”

Please provide evidence. Evidence or lack of it helps the public understand the issues and the participants.

Durrell Coleman
Durrell Coleman
9 years ago
Reply to  drymeup

You are correct that the Water Agreement is nearly unenforceable. However, federal law very clearly and strongly enforces the Ambient Air Quality Standards. The polluters are welcome to take their best shot at convincing the EPA to relax the Clean Air Act.

Ex LA
Ex LA
9 years ago

How hard is it to say NO? The tone of this article sounds like the board of supervisors are starting to cave.

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
9 years ago

So why were there no Inyo County representatives, like a Supervisor or two, present at the LADWP Board meeting to keep Mr. Adams honest and challenge him on his mis-statements, if that is indeed what they were? Mr. Adams came all the way to Inyo County to make his sales… Read more »

Philip Anaya
Philip Anaya
9 years ago

Why should anyone have to keep Martin Adams honest and challenge him on mis-statements and mis-representations indeed. It is unbelievable that the DWP management would allow this to occur but seemingly it has. James B. McDaniel the Senior Assistant General Manager and Martin Adam’s boss needs to take responsibility, needs… Read more »

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
9 years ago
Reply to  Philip Anaya

Needs to take responsibility, needs to be held accountable, bla, bla, bla. If people in Owens Valley are too lazy or disconnected to point out errors in public statements, do you think anyone in LA gives a rip? I have news for you dude, LA residents aren’t looking to make… Read more »

Philip Anaya
Philip Anaya
9 years ago

Sometimes DT you seem to touch nearly all the bases with your Home Runs. There absolutly needs to be a presence of Owens Valley concerns at each DWP Commission Meeting. I’m thinking though, there should be someone from the Owens Valley on that Commission . If you could follow Marty… Read more »

Daris
Daris
9 years ago
Reply to  Philip Anaya

I tryed to get into the web site that April has posted and keep getting the message access denied. Would someone please post the address again as I may be doing something wrong. Thanks

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
9 years ago
Reply to  Daris

Daris,
Go to the bottom of our story, “Are Owens Valley concerns really heard?” and click on the website link that is the last thing in the story. That takes you to the site of the Water and Power Commission meeting. Then click on item # 25.
BK

Philip Anaya
Philip Anaya
9 years ago
Reply to  Philip Anaya

I just received an email from the LADWP Commission Secretary Barbara Moschos with corrected email address for the Commission . It is [email protected] She did say that if requested the letters would be given to each of the Commissioners. Sorry for the mistaken email address. Contact information to DWP Management… Read more »

Ex LA
Ex LA
9 years ago
Reply to  Philip Anaya

Speaking of LA electing a new mayor, look who DWP is backing. Department of Water and Power, which has provided more than $1 million to a separate campaign promoting Greuel. Although Greuel had $500,000 less on hand for her own campaign, the union provided $500,000 this week to the other… Read more »

Andrew Kirk
Andrew Kirk
9 years ago

Don’t forget that the GBAPCD will act to enforce California law, God bless them. LADWP may have a “plan”, but our State has laws.