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DWP's Commitment to the Owens Valley

September 13, 2002

The city of Los Angeles, contrary to the implication of your Sept. 7 editorial, "Aussie Water Lesson," remains committed to the environmental restoration of the Owens Valley. About one-third of the water from the eastern Sierra that has traditionally been available to and historically met the water needs of the city has been reallocated for mitigating the environmental impacts of the city's operations. This has been made possible by the outstanding water conservation efforts of the residents of Los Angeles.

The parties in Inyo County need to have a similar commitment to the terms of the Inyo-L.A. water agreement, which recognizes the legitimate needs of Los Angeles for water that does not negatively impact the environment. Under the terms of the memorandum of understanding with Inyo County and other parties, after re-watering the Owens River, L.A. is entitled to recover the water that reaches the delta of the Owens Lake to meet the needs of its citizens.

The size of the pumping station that will return unused water to the Los Angeles Aqueduct should be a nonissue, as the quantity of water that could be pumped even by a larger pump station is small, relative to the city's Owens Valley operations. Los Angeles has offered to install a smaller pumping station, subject to receiving a quantity of water equal to that which may pass the station from unallocated water that is designated for environmental purposes under the Inyo-L.A. agreement.

The parties should accept this offer and allow the city to move ahead with implementation of the Owens River re-watering without forcing the issue to a court resolution.

Dominick W. Rubalcava

Board Vice President

Los Angeles DWP

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