The City of Los Angeles DWP has also masterfully employed the divide andconquer technique; pitting interest groups against each other through this Owens LakePlanning process.
Always implied, never stated, is that aqueduct water “freed up” from
use on Owens Lake can remain in the Owens Valley for ranches and other uses.Ranching and stock water has been intentionally and punitively reduced in the lastseveral years, as the City has attempted to gain support for their Owens Lake position.They ca
n’t do that unilaterally, and here is why.
Ranch lessees are protected severalways by the 1991 EIR and Water Agreement.
, the Agreement provides that,
Type E Vegetation Classification
(Lands supplied with water.) These lands will be supplied with water and will bemanaged to avoid causing significant decreases and changes in vegetation fromvegetation conditions which existed on such lands during the 1981-82 runoff
Another primary goal is to avoid significant decreases in recreational usesand wildlife habitats that in the past have been dependent on water supplied by theDepartment.
These lands CANNOT be converted to less water-dependent vegetation. LA may arguethat these lands were mapped, and that their reductions in irrigation comply with themapping. That process was not precise, as a study of the maps accompanying the Water Agreement will easily show. Plus, the
EIR states, “
Should it be determined, throughongoing monitoring, studies or analysis, that vegetation is incorrectly classified, it will be
reclassified as appropriate.”
Also, even if some of the lands recently cut off fromirrigation by LA are incorrectly mapped as different types than Type E, it is not permittedin the Water Agreement and EIR to convert to a drier type of vegetation.
Further, lands that were supplied with water in the 1981-82 runoff year are included inType E vegetation definition, mapping or no mapping, as this language in the EIR indicates,
Under the Agreement, LADWP must continue to provide enough water for Los Angeles-ownedlands in Inyo County in an amount sufficient to continue the water-related uses of such lands thatwere in effect during the 1981-82 runoff year. LADWP must continue to provide water to LosAngeles-owned lands in the Olancha-Cartago area such that the lands that have received water inthe past will continue to receive water.Lands to be supplied with water will be managed so as to avoid causing significant decreases andchanges in vegetation from conditions that existed on such lands during the 1981-82 runoff year
The Agreement also provides that significant decreases in recreational uses and wildlife habitatson such lands (which in the past have been dependent on water supplied by LADWP) are to beavoided.
In dry years, the
Technical Group has to analyze the conditions, and “reasonablereductions” can only be implemented if approved
by the Supervisors and LA, through theStanding Committee. In summary, if it was watered in 1981-82, it should be receivingwater today.
, the 1991 EIR specifies 5 acre feet for irrigated lands, not 3 acre feet as DWPdoes when they put in sprinklers.
Why is this important? Sprinklers deliver water only
Inyo/Los Angeles Long Term Water Agreement. Sec IV (A).
Inyo/Los Angeles 1991 EIR. pg. 5-16 and 5-17
1991 EIR. pg. 14-15