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Help Inyo County Fight for its WATER!

Owens Lake Shallow Flooding - LADWP Photo.

What's happening?

This Thursday, May 12, at 10 a.m., there will be a meeting of the LADWP Standing Committee to decide how much water LADWP can export from Inyo County. 

DWP will argue that it needs to pump more water, and allow less water to stay in our valley because of the drought and current water scarcity in California. The truth is DWP can provide essential waterfor drinking, cooking and bathingto all of its customers while still substantially reducing the amount of water it extracts from parched Inyo County. This is because, as has widely been reported in the LA Times in recent weeks, up to 70% of the water used for residential purposes in Los Angeles is devoted to landscaping. While there will soon be some restrictions on outdoor watering in some areas of Los Angeles, many areas face no current or impending restrictions at all. 

Owens Lake dust cloud - Photo by Brian Russell.

Owens Lake with red algae bloom - Photo by Brian Eckhouse/Bloomberg.

DWP will complain that reducing the amount of water it extracts from Inyo County will cause brown lawns and dead trees. While this is not ideal, the truth is that landscaping practices in Los Angeles need to change.

The Owens Valley has been tapped to provide water for thirsty landscapes inappropriate for southern California for a century. We have lost a lake, a river and countless springs and streams. Before the aqueduct started carrying water south, rice was grown in Owens Valley and groundwater supported food crops and orchards. Our valley was green, known as Payahuunadu, “the land of flowing water,” by the native people. Over the decades, consistent water extraction has killed a large proportion of the trees in the valley and has devastated our vegetation. Recent years have seen continued reductions in the amount and quality of vegetation, ranchers have been forced to consistently reduce the size of their herds and public health has suffered as dust clouds have become more common. It is time for Los Angeles to develop truly local sources for its water and start reducing the amount it takes every year from the Owens Valley. 

What can I do?

Please attend the Inyo/LA Standing Committee meeting this Thursday, May 12, at 10 a.m., and provide support for Inyo County’s request that LADWP reduce its water extraction from the Owens Valley. The meeting agenda, link and instructions can be accessed by clicking on the button below:


Suggested Talking Points

  • Express support for the pumping plan proposed by representatives of Inyo County.
  • Indicate your understanding that up to 70% of residential water use in Los Angeles is for landscaping, and that LADWP can substantially reduce water extraction in the Owens Valley and still provide water for essential uses to all its customers. 
  • Express support for the ongoing efforts in some areas of Los Angeles to truly locally source freshwater. (Examples include: the successful stormwater capture project in Burbank; Santa Monica’s groundwater treatment project that has resulted in that community’s ability to provide 60% of its own freshwater; and the handful of water recycling and reclamation facilities that are currently operating.) Ask that LADWP focus on development of more projects like these, instead of seeking to increase extraction from the Owens Valley. 
  • Express your understanding that LADWP's claim that water from the Owens Valley is “local,” is not a truthful claim. 

Make your voice heard!

Dry soil in Keeler, on the eastern edge of Owens Lake - Photo by Frank Foster. 


Friends of the Inyo
621 W Line St Suite 201  | Bishop, California 93514
(760) 873-6500 | info@friendsoftheinyo.org

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