Scrambling for water – LADWP at Inyo Supervisors

LADWP Water Operations Director, Martin Adams

LADWP Water Operations Director, Martin Adams

Director of Water Operations for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Martin Adams, had hit the public relations trail recently to sell LA’s latest plan for the Owens Dry Lake. The bottom line – DWP will spend the money to protect bird habitat there if they can quit cleaning up dust on the Owens Dry Lake. He pitched the Supervisors with LA’s wishes. DWP’s plans continued with an historic trend – to pit environmental interests against one another in the hallmark divide and conquer tactic. He said if more water is used on the dry lake, there will be less water for ranchers and others.

It was Inyo Supervisor Rick Pucci who hit on the underlying point when he said there must be “trust on both sides.” He said to Adams, “I trust you, but I don’t know that I trust DWP.” Pucci said, “There has to be a certain truth level.” He said there must also be compromises made to reach commonality.

Supervisor Chair Linda Arcularius told Adams that there has to be a “level of certainty regarding water for ranchers.” She said this would contribute to the level of trust Mr. Pucci spoke about.

Ranchers Scott Kemp, Tom Noland and Mark Lacey did point to the lack of water spread on the Valley floor. They think it’s because LA has to put more water on the dry lake to control dust. What no one said is that the use of water is LADWP’s choice. State and federal law and signed agreements have forced LA to clean up the massive dry lake dust. They choose the method. Water is cheapest.

Nancy Masters of the Owens Valley Committee pointed to the Long Term Water Agreement which says LADWP must continue the water to ranchers as it was in the 1981-82 runoff year. Said Masters, “Why is stock water being affected. We need to make sure the ranching community is receiving water pursuant to the Water Agreement.” In fact, the Supervisors have failed to address that issue. Masters also said that even if LADWP saves water at the Dry Lake, there is no assurance they will leave that water in the Owens Valley for ranchers.

Supervisor Jeff Griffiths pointed out that the Supervisors have no control over the Air Pollution Control District, the State or the courts which have jurisdiction over dust control. Supervisor Mark Tillemans pointed to LA’s land ownership that has fatally damaged the Owens Valley from economic development. Supervisor Matt Kingsley pointed to LADWP possibly side-stepping the Owens Lake Master Plan committee.

Adams promised no economic development. He did say that what will happen to water savings “will be addressed.” Adams will apparently return with a more complete plan in a couple of weeks. We will have more on comments at Tuesday’s meeting on later broadcasts.

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13 Responses to Scrambling for water – LADWP at Inyo Supervisors

  1. Mike Prather, Lone Pine April 3, 2013 at 10:37 am #

    “Hang together or separately,” Ben Franklin sort of said – good advice for people who care deeply about the Deepest Valley. As far a dust goes, no one but the GBUAPCD is authorized to enforce dust control at OL as required by law – not State Lands Commission, Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, Audubon, OVC, CNPS, lessees et al. These agencies, Inyo County and groups can’t ‘make a deal’ with LADWP on how much dust control is necessary at OL. What can be discussed is that a set amount of water saved at OL will go to ranch leases and E/M projects in OV. In return, groups and Inyo will work to support responsible water conservation at OL by LADWP as per the draft Owens Lake Master Plan guidelines. In addition, LADWP will protect and enhance the baseline wildlife values that currently exist at Owens Lake.

    • Anachronism April 3, 2013 at 11:32 am #

      And, in this case, it is separate.

      The LA DWP is required to provide water to the leasees per the Long Term Water Agreement at the same level as 1981-82 run off year. DWP has been cutting back that water. Who is paying attention to that? Not the Supes, not the “environmental groups”, not the Water Dept.

      The Owens Dry Lake “Plan” has nothing to do with the Long Term Water Agreement and the requirements of providing water to leasees. The DWP is a lot smarter than a lot of people and they are using all the special interest groups to divert attention from the issues and achieve their goals.

      Apparently we aren’t smart enough to figure that out.

      • Big AL April 3, 2013 at 5:25 pm #

        You’re right, as I said in an earlier post on this subject, they are not stupid or from another planet .. it is all calculated to befuddle, distract, and ignore! They know exactly what they are doing. I hope more people start seeing this.

    • April Zrelak April 3, 2013 at 3:05 pm #

      No organization can “make a deal” with LADWP. You’ve sat in enough meetings to hear them say that water saved from dust mitigation will go to Los Angeles. Previous EM projects are continuously being undermined, short changed and stalled. Why would you believe new promises could be trusted? LADWP is demanding endorsement for violations of law, agreements and air quality. We don’t have the power to grant those anyway, but lobbying of agency boards and judges is a powerful tool. DWP has effectively isolated Ted Schade as APO, painting him to be a renegade regulator working “outside the law”. Making false claims and inflammatory pleas to the District Board can, indeed, be effective. Draining their legal funds and diverting valuable time with lawsuits against the District is another tactic we should not ignore or tolerate. Negotiating with DWP means losing water somewhere. The Planning Committee has been fired. But, Marty Adams will take anyone who wants to follow him along as the remnant for PR use and selling The Master’s Plan. That way continued references to the Planning Committee and Master Plan would have the appearance of cooperation and environmentalist acceptance. Oh yes, and the only reason DWP wants to adopt the Habitat Group’s plan is because of extensive water savings. Fish and Wildlife must ensure the viability. That is their job.

      • Big AL April 3, 2013 at 6:17 pm #

        Without slinging the trash like April says, as is the case with DWP, we can fight them at their own game … and make it look good, not a bunch of trash like they seem to do.

        Yes, they have the where with all to wear down the legal budgets, they do it so well. More attention needs to be drawn to it, but don’t look to the Hollywood crowd, they will not join in once they find out it will jeopardize their lavish life styles. Although, to be fair, I would say, there are some there who have good sense to see the right in the story, and help with support.

        If some can help like they did in the last two presidential elections, we should be able to get the sensible ones to help in this cause.

        “Hang together or separately”, enjoy the company if things go well or not so well .. or feel like I shoulda done something when others were trying to fight, maybe we wouldn’t be hung out to dry now.

    • Philip Anaya April 3, 2013 at 7:23 pm #

      Hey Mike,
      Ben Franklin might have said in regards to this Owens Lake Master Plan Process, “Hang together or get hung separately”
      The Ranchers of the Owens Valley need immediate support from the Inyo County Water Department. There needs to be an emergency meeting called, of the Standing Committee to direct the Technical Group to immediately do the work that absolutely makes certain that the Water Agreement provisions of the promised water for the Ranchers is now and will be provided this year, immediately with certainty, (Thank you Linda Arcurlaris) at the rate of the 1981-82 runoff year. This particular water is not for export to Los Angeles.This particular water is not for the dust mitigation required of the DWP for the Owens Lake. This water is for the Ranchers. This water is for the Owens Valley.
      At the Board Meeting yesterday I heard total support for that fact , from the Supervisiors and from the public commentors.. Everyone in the Valley, maybe with the exception of the DWP management, I hate to think so, supports Water for the Ranchers. I for one will find it diificult to crow about this and that with the DWP and the Water Agreement untill this is resolved. “Hangin Together” means, I’ll work a little bit harder, make some extra dough and contribute what I can. How about, let’s get a legal fund started if litigation and restraining orders are needed to get that water flowing to the Lease Holders fields. We can’t expect Ranchers to take the lead here as they may be targeted or blackballed by the DWP. We need, as a community, to join with one another to support our Board of Supervisiors, our Water Department and the Water Agreement and most important,the Ranchers to get water where it is supposed to be, immediately!!!
      Life is really something. It needs to be nutured. It needs love. It needs water to survive. It needs us all “hangin out” together. So who ,Mike, since you started all of this, who do we send our $100 checks to, Mine and Yours. I’m thinking the OVC with the stipulation, “for Ranchers Water” . I hope Mark Bagley and the OVC can and will be able to deal with this on top of everything else.

      Funny how the DWP and Mr. Adams can come to Independence from LA in a helicopter that has a warning light, has to land and then another chopper is made available to get Mr. Adams to the Board Meeting only 40 minutes late. Why can’t the DWP provide the water required to the Ranchers with the same dilengence. He was such a slick smooth communicator and a nice man, He must be worth that expense of a back up helicopter. Like me and my skill set, I hope that he’s getting thanks ,getting referrals and I hope that he finds ways of giving back and getting the joy and life that comes from “hangin’ together”
      The Members of the Board were so respectful to him and so respectful and patient with a mumbler like me. They heard from Ranchers. They heard from other folks too, also so knowledgeable and so committed to protecting the Valley. The Boards response’s to Mr Adam’s, “New Plan” was in a couple of words “hangin’ together” for the Valley. There’s a lot of leadership happening and “hangin together” in Independence, a County Seat most notably named and worthy to be Inyo and not to forget all the dedicated folks who dwell and work there for all our benefit, whether it’s for the County, the DWP, and everyone else with the ability to have to drive miles for groceries. A bunch of fruitcake advocates and celebrants and I’m wondering about if a Owens Dry Lake Fruit Cake receipe is being formulated for the Indy event. I wondering if there is some Dry Lake fruitcake dedicated lovin Bird radical will win this next years prize, A “hangin’ together” event not to be missed. I love you Indy’s
      Geting back to serious and the needs of living things in the Valley. We can’t just let things die in one place to sustain the beauty and miracle of creation in another. The Ranchers and their way of life, their knowledge and love of cows,grasses, mules, horses and life etc, cannot die without our collective “hangin’ together” efforts. I for one would strive for that lifestyle caring for living things besides myself. Ranchers are right up against that, the boundries of existence with the weather,with the elements along with that understanding and caring of animals and the enviroment in which they dwell. I do not discount that there are folks who have vegan ideas and life choices but Rancher’s and Vegans share many values and love of life with each other . How about “Hangin together” to explore those common grounds.
      We all need what we think we need to survive , but what we all really need is love and respect for one another and we need water, we need water in all the right places. We need to share our gifts of our existence and we need to fortify the existence of every living thing and if we cant do it, if we fail to teach our children they’ll never learn the true meaning the value of Mikes’s idea of ” hangin’ together” .
      In the Deepest Valley there is the opportunity to have the deepest expierence and love for what has been created. The DWP has helped in some way to maintain the nature , the vastness, the emptyness and the majesty of that creation. We just need to help them understand that into the future that creation is so much more valuable than water down the Aqueduct. Maybe that’s the lesson for the next 100 years.

  2. Waxlips April 3, 2013 at 9:35 am #

    Rick, you shouldn’t trust Adams!! Or any other DWP administrator. Nancy hit the nail on the head. DWP are a bunch of snakes. Inyo County sups need to man-up and quit pussy footing around.

  3. Anachronism April 3, 2013 at 8:44 am #

    It is sad that the ranchers don’t realize how they are being played in this drama. They see the OVC and others that are trying to enforce the Long Term Water Agreement (which requires the DWP to provide water to leases as it was in the 1981-82 run off year) as enemies. The ranchers are scared to death that leases will be pulled and/or water will be cut off or drastically reduced. It is their livelihood that is being threatened.

    Spreading water on the leases is a benefit to wildlife. Watch the next move…which will be that the DWP starts to insist that ranchers use sprinkler irrigation. It does not provide the same benefits as flood irrigation. Who is going to stand up and fight that one? Not the ranchers, because they are afraid. It will be the people that many of them despise…the “environmentalists”. Huge irony in this scenario. So much for “Cowboy Up” and “Code of the West”.

    And, by the way, all you in the ranching community need to realize that the Owens Lake Dust Mitigation has absolutely nothing to do with the Long Term Water Agreement. The Agreement has to be enforced regardless of what the GBAPCD requires on the Lake. If I were you I would be secretly endorsing the actions of the OVC and others to uphold the Water Agreement. You have no guarantees at all that if the DWP is allowed to pump the Owens Dry Lake that the “water saved” would go to you.

  4. Reality Check April 3, 2013 at 6:59 am #

    This guy must be on another planet. Typical strong arm tactics by DWP. Mr. Adams, you should open a history book, what you are doing has been tried by so many before you in your position and failed. Guess what? You have already lost many times in court, it’s time for you to go back to the flatlands. Your empty threats will continue to be challenged and beaten in the court of law. I mean really, DWP is singing the same old song?

    • Big AL April 3, 2013 at 5:16 pm #

      No he is not on another planet .. it is hard calculated “divide and conquer” tactics. Pit one group against the other, or try to make the whole group feel like they (DWP) are trying to offer something good, hoping we will go for it!

      Trouble is … there are some who will look at it and think it is something good, and want to go for it.

      Don’t give into this BS, it is the same BS they try all the time .. the thing is .. sometimes they get away with it … because some think they are getting something good. Yeah right!

  5. Pat Rowbottom April 3, 2013 at 4:54 am #

    And…who asked Adams what measures would be implemented upon LA metropolis locals for water conservation? San Francisco has always had good results With conservation by metering water, raising prices during drought. (Shorter showers, less washing, recycling grey water, no pools, dry landscaping ..suggested measures)

  6. Walker April 2, 2013 at 10:06 pm #

    I was out for my afternoon walk out by the independence tree field and I notice that only one half of the field was being water. I love taking my walks and enjoy the beautiful green fields full of wild life. However, this year the fields are all dead! The other day I stopped and asked one of the ranch hands why the field was not getting water? He informed me that DWP was not going to give them water for the paster because the Creeks where not running. So i went to investagate and i saw the independence creeks is running right in to the aqueduct. In my opinion I believe that we should let the rancher use as much water as they need! If u think about it they are watering fields and the water that is not used by the plants goes right back in the ground water. Also, with such a dry year we should really think about fire danger.

  7. MJA April 2, 2013 at 8:42 pm #

    The only plan that will restore the health of the Owens Valley is shutting down and drying up the LA aqueduct. Remove the problem and the problem is solved. =


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