MCWD and LADWP now on course for water rights litigation

mammothcreekLos Angeles Department of Water and Power says they are still in negotiations. Mammoth Community Water District officials say they don’t want to comment. What looked like a settlement over DWP’s attack on Mammoth’s water rights now looks iffy. A trial date has been set for September.

Alan Lily, one of Mammoth Water District’s attorneys, said that at 1 pm Thursday, attorneys from both sides took part in a conference call with Judge James Garbolino. Earlier, Acting General Manager of the Water District, John Pederson, said that both sides would request the Judge set a briefing and hearing schedule.

Mr. Lily confirmed that Judge Garbolino did schedule DWP’s opening briefs in the litigation for April 15th followed by responses through July. The trial date is set for September 6th. What happened to the hinted at settlement?

In November, then General Manager Greg Norby said that a four-hour meeting at DWP headquarters in Los Angeles resulted in “substantial progress towards a settlement agreement.” Then, the Los Angeles Times reported earlier this month that LADWP was attempting to end hostilities and that settlement of major water issues was unfolding, including the Mammoth Lakes issue.

DWP had filed lawsuits over a year ago that claim Mammoth has no water rights in Mammoth Creek because LADWP owns them. Water District officials strongly disagreed and pointed to state allotted rights for more than sixty years.

Former Manager Norby had said at the end of January that Judge Garbolino set February 14th as the deadline for progress on settlement. He said, “There needs to be substantially complete principles ready and okayed by both parties or the court ends the tolling or delay agreement and re-starts the lawsuit proceedings.” Apparently there was not substantial agreement because the Judge did re-start legal proceedings.

Asked if DWP and Mammoth were still negotiating, Attorney Lily said, “I don’t want to comment on the issue of settlement.” LADWP Public Relations Director Joe Ramallo did comment. He said, “We are still in negotiations, and we are still hopeful for a mutually beneficial settlement.”

, , , ,

7 Responses to MCWD and LADWP now on course for water rights litigation

  1. Trouble February 15, 2013 at 11:54 pm #

    it’s amazing that Mammoth is covered in snow for months every year, but has no rights to it when it melts. Maybe they should sue DWP for stealing thier snow.

  2. Trouble February 15, 2013 at 2:04 pm #

    Why isn’t MCWD fighting the statue of limitations on this? It sure seems like DWP is about 60 years to late on this lawsuit.

    • Desert Tortoise February 15, 2013 at 10:29 pm #

      MCWD is taking much more water than they traditionally did due to the recent growth of the city of Mammoth Lakes, water DWP has or believs they have legal rights to. If DWP does not challenge MCWD then LADWP surrenders their rights to that water through the legal concept of “abandonment”. Spend some time in the books on western water rights and the Law of the River.

      Remember, in California whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting. Carry on.

      • Benett Kessler February 15, 2013 at 11:27 pm #

        There is no information to say Mammoth is using more of Mammoth Creek water. There are limits on that. Mammoth has developed some of its own groundwater
        for the town supply. The state permits and licenses give Mammoth around 2600 acre feet per year. Most years they don’t use that much. Of course, LADWP
        officials have said their City Charter demands they get all they can get.
        Benett Kessler

        • Desert Tortoise February 16, 2013 at 1:26 am #

          According to coverage of the matter in the LA press several months ago LADWP is of the opinion that MCWD is using more than their allotted amount and is suing to protect their water rights from being ruled “abandoned” under western water law. That, at least, is how it was presented in the press in the middle of 2012. I have been following the conflict with interest.

  3. MJA February 15, 2013 at 10:32 am #

    Negotiated settlements and court orders have done nothing to stop the destruction of the Owens Valley, so maybe Mammoth will be different.
    It did work at Mono Lake.
    Save Mammoth


  4. Water Boy February 14, 2013 at 10:05 pm #

    Classic bait and switch by LADWP for public consumption.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.