On a mission for water justice
By Jamie Della
Direct contact with the natural world is crucial in shaping our ability to extend our ethics beyond our own self-interest. In this land of flowing waters, tall green grass danced in the winds that, like breath, blew up and exhaled down the Eastern Sierra range. The Paiute people created miles of irrigation canals to water gardens for medicine and food. From spring through fall, the creeks rose and fell with snow melt. The water brought life, turning chalk white Aspen bark into chartreuse trunks that sprouted bright green leaves.
As the City of Los Angeles grew, its leaders looked to Payahuunadu’s snow-capped mountains and claimed water belonging to another community for their own. Through lies, intimidation and at gunpoint, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) built the aqueduct and drained the water from the Great Basin, literally a bowl, to fill their bowl of Los Angeles, without answering to the community from which they took. The land grew barren and all indigenous life in the area suffered without a voice at the table.
Recently, the people of Los Angeles have made great strides to reduce their water use and yet LADWP has not shared the conservation dividends with the Eastern Sierra. Despite the hard-earned savings by Angelinos, DWP is purposefully confusing their customers and brushing over the fact that they are not sharing in their conservation dividends. Claims for legal entitlement hide the nearly 50 noncompliance issues, a brutal history, and current mitigation costs that are passed along to the ratepayers.
The drying out of the Owens Lake and River did not take into account its unintended effect of creating a deadly toxic dust that caused death through dust pneumonia for hundreds of people. In our next newsletter, discover how the Eastern Sierra dust bowl currently affects this land, flora, fauna and perhaps even you.
The Keep Long Valley Green coalition believes DWP should give the people, economy, and ecosystems of Payahuunadu a seat at the table. It is time for a shared water ethic. We ask that you tell people about this newsletter so that, armed with knowledge, we can collectively deliver the message that we know DWP can meet the water needs of Los Angeles and decrease its take from the Eastern Sierra. Please follow the link below to take action and share this newsletter.
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