LADWP: Mayor Garcetti lifts Owens Valley Emergency Declaration


Mayor Garcetti Lifts Owens Valley Emergency Declaration

LOS ANGELES — Mayor Eric Garcetti today lifted the emergency declaration he initiated in March to protect the lands and communities near the Los Angeles Aqueduct from flooding created by record snowpack in the Eastern Sierra.

The declaration helped the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) respond to the threat by triggering special City rules that allowed the utility to quickly contract for the goods and services it needed.

As a result of Mayor Garcetti’s Declaration, and effective collaboration with the Inyo County Emergency Preparation team, LADWP was able to keep local residents safe, avert costly damage to property along the aqueduct, and minimize the deluge by feeding much of it into the groundwater supply.

“I declared this State of Emergency because the people of Inyo County, their property, and our water infrastructure were facing a grave and immediate threat,” said Mayor Garcetti. “Today, because of an extraordinary collaborative effort, I can report that we have successfully averted disaster. On behalf of all Angelenos, I want to thank our incredible LADWP workers, and our Inyo County partners for helping us navigate this crisis.”

The snowpack brought more than 303 billion gallons of water into the Owens River Basin. As a result of LADWP and partner efforts, groundwater levels rose by nine feet in the Owens Valley, on average, compared to 2016. During the emergency efforts, LADWP spent approximately $27 million to achieve the following:

  • Flood Protection in Owens Valley — In coordination with Caltrans and Inyo County, LADWP helped minimize flooding in the Owens Valley. Crews repaired culverts, waterways and other facilities to prevent further damage from increased water flows.
  • Protection of Owens Lake Dust Mitigation Infrastructure — LADWP safeguarded Los Angeles’ $1.1 billion dust mitigation investment in Owens Lake by limiting the increase of water levels on the lake.
  • Prevention of Long Valley Dam Spilling and Potential Impacts to Owens Tui Chub Habitat — Coordinated action prevented the spilling of Long Valley Reservoir and dam — which, in turn, protected local habitats and LADWP hydropower infrastructure in the Owens Gorge.
  • Ensured Full Aqueduct Flows — Effective management of the runoff also led to the export of enough water to meet 80% of Los Angeles’ annual water needs, reducing L.A.’s purchases of expensive imported water.

“Thanks to the hard work of crews and contractors, the investment by Los Angeles ratepayers for water infrastructure has been protected. Through this Emergency Declaration, LADWP repaired our existing infrastructure and helped ensure water reliability for San Fernando Valley residents as we continue our pursuit to maximize local water resources,” said Councilwoman Nury Martinez, Chair of the City Council’s Energy, Climate Change and Environmental Justice Committee and member of the Inyo/Los Angeles Standing Committee.

“LADWP’s efforts to prepare and operate the City’s water conveyance systems in the Owens Valley during this year’s Spring runoff were phenomenal. Without the tremendous work done by LADWP employees, the flood damage sustained by our communities during this emergency would have been much, much worse,” said Inyo County Administrator Kevin Carunchio.

“We are thankful to have partnered with Inyo County and for their support to protect both the public’s safety and property from significant damage following last season’s near record snowmelt. Our crews mobilized quickly following the Mayor’s declaration and with the support of the City Council worked diligently to gather and spread water.  We are proud of the dedication and efforts of our crews to avoid the severe flooding that could have affected the residents and environment of the Owens Valley and the Owens Lake Dust Control Program,” said LADWP General Manager David Wright.

While the threat of extreme runoff has diminished, LADWP will sustain efforts ahead of winter storms. Safety signs at public access points near swift water locations will remain in place, with residents and visitors to the Owens Valley encouraged to practice water safety. Inyo County is leaving its own emergency declaration in place to assist in ongoing infrastructure repair work.

Mayor Garcetti's Emergency Proclamation is available here. Mayor Garcetti's letter to Governor Brown requesting State assistance is available here. LADWP's Emergency Declaration fact sheet is available here.

View Mayor Garcetti Lifts Owens Valley Emergency Declaration

LADWP: Pulls Decision to Drill Two Proposed West Bishop Wells

LADWP Pulls Decision to Drill Two Proposed West Bishop Wells, Cites Conflict with Long Term Water Agreement

Bishop, CA – The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) today announced its decision to cancel plans to drill two new wells located in the West Bishop area. The decision was made by Department leadership because Inyo County did not intend to follow the new well procedures and impact assessment process as outlined in the Inyo/Los Angeles Long Term Water Agreement (LTWA), the governing document for many LADWP operations within Inyo County.

 “We believe the new well procedure process has gone afield of what is outlined within the Long Term Water Agreement,” LADWP Senior Assistant General Manager of Water Richard Harasick said. “Because of this, we have decided to cancel drilling plans for the time being and reassess with the Technical Group on future project development.”

According the LTWA’s outlined procedures, new wells are first drilled, then tested and their data analyzed. That data then informs the well’s monitoring plan. In the case of these two proposed wells, Inyo County was asking LADWP to create a monitoring plan in absence of drilling and collecting data that would have resulted from testing that drilled site.

“We believe it is important for both LADWP and Inyo County to operate in accordance with the procedures outlined in the Long Term Water Agreement,” Harasick added. “Violating our governing document is not an option.”

LADWP had originally proposed construction of the two new wells, B2 and B5, on the Bishop Cone in the late 1980s.Both wells B2 and B5 are included in the 15 “new wells” evaluated and authorized under the 1991 Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the area. 

During the preconstruction evaluation process, which is required by the LTWA and was completed by the Technical Group -- a group of LADWP and Inyo County Water Department leaders who meet regularly to discuss water operations in Inyo County -- some community members alleged that further environmental analysis of the proposed wells is required because the installation of B2 and B5 would cause a significant impact to domestic wells in the Bishop Cone area.

Although the preconstruction evaluation performed by LADWP and accepted by Inyo County’s technical experts comprehensively demonstrated that B2 and B5 will not have any impacts to local domestic wells, and the project provided for additional monitoring wells near the site, Inyo County wished to pursue further environmental study on the area and declined to issue an environmental health permit to LADWP for well construction in contradiction of the County ordinance. 

LADWP will reassess with the Technical Group on the development of any future project relating to the wells moving forward.


LADWP: Green Book Revision - LADWP to Maximize Water Spreading in OV

LADWP to Maximize Water Spreading in Owens Valley This Year
INYO/LA Standing Committee Approves Green Book Revisions on Vegetation Monitoring

LOS ANGELES – During the Inyo County/Los Angeles Standing Committee yesterday, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) announced plans to maximize the spread of water in the Owens Valley this year to levels not seen since the wettest year on record, 1983-84.

The above average snowpack levels, registering north of 200 percent of normal to date, are expected to provide ample water supply for both the Eastern Sierra region and the LA Aqueduct. Runoff calculations from the Eastern Sierra are anticipated to be in the range of 900 to 1 million acre feet (AF) of water.

Due to the ample water supply, LADWP will be able to meet all water needs throughout Long Valley and Inyo County. The spread of this water is expected to improve local vegetation and groundwater levels, representing a significant recharge of the Owens Valley aquifer. Given the abundance of water, LADWP will conduct no discretionary pumping in the region – only necessary pumping for town water systems and Enhancement and Mitigation projects which always operate using groundwater, such as fish hatcheries and pasture irrigation.

“To date this winter we’ve spread 8,000 acre feet of water in the Owens Valley and we expect to spread a lot more,” James Yannotta, Manager of the Los Angeles Aqueduct for LADWP said. “We anticipate matching if not exceeding the amount spread during our wettest recorded winter.”

The wet winter is also expected to assist ranch lessees who will receive at least a full allotment of water this year, a much welcome reprieve from the   past five consecutive years of drought.

In all, the Department expects to release water to Long Valley and throughout the Owens Valley in Laws, Bishop, Big Pine, Independence and areas further south.

“In terms of water supply, this winter is good news for everyone – both the Owens Valley and Los Angeles,” Richard Harasick, Senior Assistant General Manager of Water System for LADWP, added. “There is ample water to go toward both our environmental commitments in the Eastern Sierra and supplying our ratepayers in Los Angeles.”

Also in the Standing Committee Meeting, the parties from both Inyo County and Los Angeles agreed to formally adopt revisions to the vegetation monitoring protocols outlined in the Green Book. The adoption of these revisions represents the end of a monitoring discrepancy that has been in place since 2005. 

The new method strengthens existing practices by developing a more consistent sampling program. The new protocols allow Inyo County and LADWP staff to divide pre-determined monitoring parcels rather than separately monitoring the same areas, reducing overlap and streamlining the process.

Vegetation monitoring in Inyo County is required by the Inyo-LA Long Term Water Agreement and must be able to compare vegetation cover and composition to the vegetation cover and composition obtained during the initial vegetation inventory which occurred between 1984 and 1987.

The Technical Group approved the new monitoring program at its meeting of February 9, 2017. Today’s approval by the Standing Committee makes the new protocols official.


Owens River Water Trail: LADWP "say yes" to the Site Access Agreement for the Water Trail

EMAIL Comments:

  • Mel Levine, Chair of DWP Commission -
  • Christina Noonan, DWP Commissioner -
  • Michael Fleming, DWP Comissioner -
  • Mayor Eric Garcetti -

MAIL Comments:

111 N. Hope St., Los Angeles, CA 90012

  • Attn: Mel Levine, President
  • Attn: William W. Funderburk, Jr. Commissioner
  • Attn: Michael F. Fleming, Commissioner
  • Christina Noonan, Commissioner


LADWP Water Commissioners Meeting in Los Angeles
When: Wed., Feb. 22 (3:30am)
Vons Parking Lot (back end)
Questions: Yaney Maclver (541) 829-9788 or
Click here for the official website of the Owens Valley