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Social Droughts and Water Wars: The Never-Ending California Saga.

Discussion in 'The War Room' started by Arkain2K, Jul 14, 2017.

  1. Arkain2K Si vis pacem, para bellum

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    L.A. took their water and land a century ago.
    Now the Owens Valley is fighting back

    By Louis Sahagun | July 13, 2017



    A century ago, agents from Los Angeles converged on the Owens Valley on a secret mission.


    They figured out who owned water rights in the lush valley and began quietly purchasing land, posing as ranchers and farmers.

    Soon, residents of the Eastern Sierra realized much of the water rights were now owned by Los Angeles interests. L.A. proceeded to drain the valley, taking the water via a great aqueduct to fuel the metropolis’ explosive growth.

    This scheme became an essential piece of California history and the subject of the classic 1974 film “Chinatown.” In the Owens Valley, it is still known as the original sin that sparked decades of hatred for Los Angeles as the valley dried up and ranchers and farmers struggled to make a living.

    But now, the Owens Valley is trying to rectify this dark moment in its history.

    Officials have launched eminent domain proceedings in an effort to take property acquired by Los Angeles in the early 1900s.

    [​IMG]
    The Los Angeles Aqueduct, which transports water from the Owens Valley to Los Angeles, was built in the early 1900s​


    Owens Valley wants to reclaim its history

    It is the first time Inyo County has used eminent domain rules against the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, which owns 25% of the Owens Valley floor, officials said Wednesday.

    Unlike previous battles with the DWP that focused on the environmental and economic damage caused by L.A.'s pumping of local water supplies, the county seeks to pay fair market value for property and water rights needed for landfills, parks, commerce and ranchlands along a 112-mile stretch of Highway 395 east of the Sierra Nevada.

    “We’re using a hammer the DWP has never seen before in Owens Valley,” Inyo County Supervisor Rick Pucci said. “Our goal is the future health and safety of our communities.”

    The move comes after years of efforts by Los Angeles to make amends for taking the region’s land and water. In 2013, for instance, the city agreed to fast-track measures to control toxic dust storms that have blown across the eastern Sierra Nevada since L.A. opened the aqueduct a century ago that drained Owens Lake.

    As a gesture of conciliation, the city a year ago erected a $4.6-million monument of granite and sculpted earth that now rises from a dry bed of Owens Lake. It features a public plaza with curved granite walls inspired by the wing shapes of shorebirds. Sculptures of earth and rock have been made to resemble whitecaps like those that graced the lake’s surface before it was transformed into a noxious dust bowl.

    [​IMG]
    Owens Valley water has fueled Los Angeles' growth for more than a century


    L.A. concerns about giving back land

    But in Owens Valley, Angelenos bearing gifts have always elicited skepticism, and occasionally sparked eruptions of violence. The aqueduct was dynamited repeatedly after increased pumping exacerbated a drought during the 1920s that laid waste to local farms and businesses.

    Inyo County officials see their effort to take back DWP land as an important step in taking back local control.

    That worries DWP officials, who acknowledged they were caught off guard by the action.

    “This is brand new. It could be a slippery slope and where it would lead us I don’t know,” Marty Adams, chief operating officer at the agency, said. “The county also wants the water rights on certain properties, which could have a cascading effect. We’re very concerned about that.”

    The Inyo County Board of Supervisors directed its staff to study the use of eminent domain after the DWP a year ago proposed a fourfold rent increase of more than $20,000 annually at a landfill in Bishop operated by the county on land it has leased from the DWP for decades, Rick Benson, assistant county administrator, said.

    The proposed lease included a clause allowing the DWP to terminate the agreement for any reason with a 180-day notice, he said.

    After months of heated negotiations, the county approved the new three-year lease agreement in January because, Benson said: “We had no choice.”

    “We’re mandated by the state to provide environmentally sound means of disposal,” he said. “But the cost of abandoning that landfill and building and certifying a new one elsewhere would be astronomical.”

    Beyond that, he said, the California Department of Resources, Recycling and Recovery refused to renew an operating permit for the landfill until a new lease was in place on the property.

    [​IMG]


    Valley towns struggling to survive

    In March, Inyo County Administrator Kevin Carunchio notified the DWP of the county’s decision to condemn that landfill site and two others in the towns of Independence and Lone Pine. That would set in motion legal proceedings that could lead to its taking ownership from the DWP.

    A county appraisal concluded a fair market value for the total 200 acres of $522,000, county officials said. On Monday, the DWP declined that offer, saying it had yet to complete its own appraisals.

    Some officials are already raising the possibility of mounting crowd-sourcing campaigns to fund additional acquisitions of DWP land for public benefit.

    “The county would obviously like more economic opportunities,” the DWP’s Adams said, “and we support that.”

    In the meantime, Owens Valley towns — including Big Pine, Independence, Lone Pine and Olancha — struggle to survive, with most of their developable land and water rights controlled by the DWP.

    In 1997, the DWP agreed to relinquish 75 acres in the Owens Valley for residential and commercial uses, and the county amended its General Plan to ensure that land exchanges did not result in a net loss of tax base or revenues. Since then, county officials say, lots on only a fraction of that acreage have changed hands because the DWP has tended to set minimum bids far above market value.

    In 2009, a group of Owens Valley residents sent a petition to then-Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the Los Angeles City Council urging them to force the DWP to compensate for the loss of private land it planned to buy in the region by releasing an equal amount of its own holdings elsewhere. The city never responded, according to activists who helped write the petition.

    The DWP has spent more than $1 billion to comply with a 1997 agreement with the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District to combat the powder-fine dust from the dry 110-square-mile Owens Lake bed.

    Separately, after decades of political bickering and a bruising court fight, the DWP directed water back into a 62-mile-long stretch of the Lower Owens River that had been left essentially dry after its flows of Sierra snowmelt were diverted to the Los Angeles Aqueduct. But it later balked at removing thick stands of reeds that swiftly choked the renewed river.

    The DWP caused an uproar during the drought in 2015 when it gave ranchers 48 hours’ notice of its intention to reduce their irrigation water from the usual 49,000 acre-feet a year to 20,500 acre-feet a year. The agency abandoned the deadline after Inyo County threatened to seek an injunction to stop what it claimed was a violation of long-term water agreements that would devastate the local economy.

    [​IMG]
    A historic map shows the path of water from the Owens Valley to Los Angeles​


    Some itching for a fight with L.A.

    Farming and ranching generate $20 million a year in rural Inyo County, second only to tourism, officials said.

    Jenifer Castaneda, a Lone Pine real estate broker and community activist, had one word to say about the county’s use of eminent domain: “Awesome.”

    Castaneda said she only hopes local leaders are ready for a long fight and that they don’t “cave when Los Angeles dangles some kind of big fat carrot in front of their noses."

    http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-owens-valley-eminent-domain-20170712-story.html
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2021
  2. Arkain2K Si vis pacem, para bellum

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    Last edited: Jul 14, 2017
  3. Pliny Pete Puts Butts In Seats

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    Theyre about to do the same thing up here in the East Bay/Central Valley
    Trying to drain the Sacramento River and send the water to los angeles
    Its bullshit but Im sure its gonna end up happening because money
     
  4. xcvbn Gold Belt

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    The destruction of Owens Valley is a never talked about situation which epitomizes the massive effect humans can have on the environment. We didn't just suck water from an area that had a plentiful amount- we literally changed topography and climate for decades by doing so.

    @Pliny Pete is 100% correct. If California politicians, foreign corporations, and out of state investors have their way the Bay Area Delta, one of the richest and most diverse ecosystems in the world, will be turned into a depleted marshland within a few years.

    All because an overpopulated metropolitan placed on the edge of a desert wants green lawns and swimming pools and refuse to find alternate sources of water. Because the San Joaquin valley is hundreds of miles away and its depletion won't directly affect them, they're willing to destroy another area's environment.

    If people think those Indians in North Dakota had reason to protest- you haven't seen shit yet. Water Wars were nasty 100-150 years ago. People sabotaging irrigation with explosives and other acts of violence. But now populations are 100x what they were and things will get bad and fast.
     
  5. Arkain2K Si vis pacem, para bellum

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    It's utterly disgusting how us pampered Southern Californians along the coast treat water, to be honest.

    Reclamation is practically zero, too. Whenever it rains, millions of gallons of water just went straight down the storm drain and flow right into the Pacific Ocean.

    People visiting from dry places like Australia must be in utter shock at how we value water as much as Egyptians value their sands.

    At the same time, California cities further in land are having their aquifers and lakes sucked dry, as they're the ones growing most of the food being shipped out to the rest of the United States.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2017
  6. xcvbn Gold Belt

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    The title of the second video couldn't sum up LA's entire existence any better. In order for LA to become what it is today, they had to destroy for centuries another mass of land.

    Now, it wouldn't be so bad if it was one n done but no. And the next place destroyed hundreds of miles from that city will be much more devastating and affect a much, much greater population(millions) than bumfuck Owens Valley. Not to mention the disruption to the farming in central to northern California which represents a sizeable percentage of total US food production.
     
  7. ripskater Guest

    I really don't like going to liberal cities. They swallow up good people's land. They tell people what the can and can't do on their property, full of crime, they've got more pollution than anyone but they'll tell rural people that they should have less kids and should feel bad if they don't drive a Prius instead of a pickup truck.
     
  8. lifelessheap Gold Belt

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    I live in NorCal surrounded by agriculture. It makes me so irritated to see farms that go fallow and unused because of a lack of water. Then when I visit my family in Los Angeles and see endless houses with lush green lawns I just shake my head. We suffer while they waste. They could at least implement drought tolerant yard rules, or subsidize artificial lawns.

    Oh, and when California gets rain we do nothing to keep it. We let it flow into the ocean like the retards we are.
     
  9. xcvbn Gold Belt

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    Yeah uh the creation of LA couldn't have been a more bipartisan effort. Conservatives might not announce their affiliations with that city outloud, but you're foolish to think they didn't play a major role.

    In all actuality, California is a great example of what happens when a free market runs amok- and what happens when liberalism tries to control the aftermath.
     
  10. Arkain2K Si vis pacem, para bellum

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    Owens Valley Salty As Los Angeles Water Battle Flows Into Court
    By Kirk Siegler | March 11, 2013

    [​IMG]
    Owens Lake — which dried up after losing its water source, the Owens River, to Los Angeles — is known to be a source of air pollution.
    The city of L.A. is in court over obligations to control dust pollution at the lake.


    In the West, fights over water last a long time.

    It's been almost 100 years since William Mulholland stood atop an aqueduct along the Owens River and said, "There it is, take it." He was referring to a diversion channel that started piping water to Los Angeles from 200 miles away. That water allowed L.A. to become the metropolis it is today.

    But it also meant that the Owens River no longer flowed into the massive Owens Lake, which quickly dried up and became one of the biggest environmental disasters in the nation.

    Now, Los Angeles is back in court over its obligations to control dust pollution at Owens Lake.

    A Dried-Up Lake Turned Salt Flat

    At the end of a bumpy road skirting the barren edge of the dry Owens Lake bed, highway signs become teachers about this harsh environment: that way to Furnace Creek, straight ahead to Stove Pipe Road, then Death Valley beyond. The wind has left small sand dunes on the road. Even in winter, the high desert sun is punishing, but you can see for miles.

    And it's not hard to spot the white speck of Marty Adams' helicopter coming into view on the southern horizon. Owens Lake is four hours away from L.A., unless you have a chopper — then the journey takes about an hour and a half. Friendly, polished Adams is given an aerial tour of Owens Lake, near the Sierra Nevada Mountains, hundreds of times.

    As director of water operations for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Adams oversees the complex system that collects snowmelt off the Sierra Nevada and carries it to water taps in the country's second largest city. But he's also in charge of dealing with the environmental consequences, and they're huge.

    "People hear a 'dry lake,' and you might think it's a mountain lake, it's surrounded by trees," Adams says.

    Instead, it's a salt flat the size of San Francisco, and when the wind blows, it can churn up huge dust storms with high levels of particulates that are dangerous to breathe. That earned Owens Lake the dubious mark of being the largest single source of dust pollution in the nation. And California law leaves no ambiguity for who the responsible polluter is.

    Controlling The Dust

    In the late 1990s, the city of L.A. reached a historic deal and agreed to a cleanup plan. To date, the city has spent more than a billion dollars doing that, giving it another distinction: It's one of the largest dust-control projects in U.S. history.

    "And it's really trying to control dust in a desert that's naturally dusty," Adams says.

    Those dust-control measures are easier to see once the chopper ascends higher. There are a few places where bulldozers have laid gravel. But it's mostly just giant, shallow pools of water that are still the weapons of choice to fight dust. And each day, the city pumps enough of it back onto the dry lake to fill the Rose Bowl. So Adams' agency has gone to federal court to make the case that they're done here.

    "We believe that we've done everything that we've committed to do," he says. "At this point, we believe the job's done," Adams says.

    'Simply About Money'

    But not so fast, say California air quality regulators. Air Pollution Control District Director Ted Schade is in charge of monitoring air pollution in the area. He says the city is almost done with the cleanup, 90 percent of the plan has been met, and 45 square miles are controlled — so why stop now?

    "The reason the city is not deploying the additional controls that are required to meet the standard is simply about money," Schade says.

    When Schade took the job in 1990, the levels of particulate coming off Owens Lake were 100 times the standard the federal government says is safe to breathe. These tiny particulates are especially harmful because they're hard to detect, and can build up in the lungs over time and cause respiratory problems. Schade says things have gotten a lot better around the dry lake bed, but they're still not in the best shape.

    The Owens Valley was a dusty place even before L.A.'s water diversions began. It's also a vast, sparsely populated place. But people here still have to live with the dust, and some still complain of allergies and other respiratory problems when the storms blow in and choke the valley.

    "We're measuring dust levels 10 times higher than the standard, where no other desert areas in the West are seeing levels that high, so something is still wrong," Schade says. "It may have been a dusty place, but it wasn't this dusty."

    A Environmental Justice Issue?

    On a dirt road tucked off Highway 395, Mel Joseph climbs a ladder to the top of an air quality control monitor that he operates for the Lone Pine Paiute-Shoshone tribal community. These days, Joseph says, there are a lot fewer stage-one air alerts, but they still happen.

    "It's an environmental justice issue as well for us, as to why our reservation is located 5 miles from the nation's largest source of particulate pollution," Joseph says.

    He says the city of L.A. is still to blame for that pollution. Up and down the rural valley, there has been no love lost for the city's DWP since it began diverting water here 100 years ago.

    "It's a desert climate, but they made it the dust bowl that it is today," Joseph says.

    And this battle flows like many other water disputes in the arid West do — into the courts. They'll decide whether Los Angeles has done enough to control the dust bowl, or whether it'll have to spend millions of dollars more to finish the job.

     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2018
  11. Cuzcatlan Genial Thierry Henry

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    Who cares about a bunch of dirt farmers!

    SoCal! SoCal! SoCal!
     
  12. Rod1 Titanium Belt

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    Urban water will always be a priority due the amount of money urban people will pay as opposed to rural ones.

    Same with those farmers who grow pistachios in the desert.
     
  13. Arkain2K Si vis pacem, para bellum

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    Since SoCal politicians have done such a good job at stealing negotiating other people's water rights for our cities, we actually pay next to nothing for it. Our monthly water bill usually costs a fraction of the electricity bill, despite all the hour-long showers even during droughts.

    That's why coastal cities don't give a shit about reclaiming all the wasted rain water that quickly ends up in the ocean, no new reservoirs have been built in the last 50 years, and desalination is but a pet project to fulfill the environmentalist PR headlines.

    There were some legitimate concerns when the reservoirs in Northern California (a major water sources for Southern California) dropped to critical levels over the last five years of drought, but then the January storms refilled them with 350 billion gallons of water, and now folks in SoCal are back to our water-wasting routine, as if nothing ever happened.

    I always joke about how instead of dealing with expensive desalinated water when our neighbor's water sources runs dry, Southern California gonna run a giant pipeline all the way up to Canada and buy their snowmelt for cheap, instead of learning to be being self-sufficient.

    A few decades from now, that might not be a joke anymore.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2017
  14. Rod1 Titanium Belt

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    Didnt knew that, still while the price may look low there is a reason why urban water is billed in cubic-feet while agricultural water is billed in acre-feet.

    Im reading that LA has spent a billion on enviromental protection, with that money they should had built some desalination plants.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2017
  15. Arkain2K Si vis pacem, para bellum

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    The beans counters did the math and realized that seawater desalination in Southern California would cost us an exorbitant $2,100 per acre-foot. That's a hell lot more expensive than what we've been getting from Northern California, the Colorado river, and the Valleys.

    So, we're egging on Baja California to push ahead with the Rosarito Beach Desalination Plant instead, and plans to buy cheap water from you down the road, which probably will cost significantly less than $2,100 per acre-foot even with the $30 Million pipeline factored in. :cool:

    For a State that used to be a desert, Californian's lax attitude about water is extraordinary, which explains our average household use of 115 gallons a day, with a minuscule 13% reuse rate.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2017
  16. hillelslovak87 Banned Banned

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    I wonder who is going to win this court case, hhhhhmmmmmmmm
     
  17. Seano Hands of bone

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    That whole state is clown shoes.
     
  18. Goonerview Gold Belt

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    Open borders loons have their way, the population will be even bigger.
     
  19. Pwent Guest

    what pisses me off is when they tell us we have to cut back on water, i cant water my lawn because there isnt enough water to go around

    then they build more homes in irvine, to spread the water across even more people

    i know someone who works in a local water department and says thats exactly how they plan it. we use x amount of water per household, which means they will have trouble building new homes. so they tell existing homeowners that were in a drought so we have to have temporary cutbacks to y amount of water. people sacrifice and do it, then the developers say "now that the average household has y amount, we can support more residents"

    irvine company pls stop
     
  20. Fawlty Banned Banned

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    Having spent a good deal of time around Bishop over the years, to me the Owens Valley is a really beautiful little gem nestled between huge mountains and unforgiving desert, and it would be really nice to see them get some of their water back.
     

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