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.