The Flow and the Pump Back of Lower Owens River Water

How much goes in and how much is pumped out? Some of our listeners wanted to know about the Lower Owens River Project.

DWP does inject water into the Lower Owens from the intake north of Independence. South of Lone Pine a pump back station puts water back into the aqueduct. Some were concerned that DWP was taking out more water than it put into the river.

Inyo Water Director Bob Harrington gave us an example of a day last week, Tuesday, April 6th. On that DWP, DWP released 43 cubic feet per second into the Lower Owens. Other water made it into the river from the Black Rock ditch, Goose Lake and Billy Lake – an extra 4.6 cfs for a total of 47.6 cfs.

DWP’s pump back station returned 47 cfs to the aqueduct. Harrington said court documents say that the pump back station can not take out more than 50 cfs.

DWP also provides 6 to 9 cfs to the Owens Dry Lake Delta area, by agreement. Harrington pointed out that the river gains and loses water on a seasonal basis depending on groundwater, plant growth and other factors.


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