Opinion

The Owens Valley wants its water back. What will L.A. so when the spigot is finally closed?

To the editor: In May 1968 during our honeymoon in Yosemite, the car my husband and I were driving broke down on the newly opened Tioga Pass Road. We coasted down the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada into the town of Lee Vining, where we caught a bus to Bishop, a city in the Owens Valley. There, we rented a car and then drove back to Yosemite Valley to retrieve our belongings and to Lee Vining to get our car. (“L.A. took their water and land a century ago. Now the Owens Valley is fighting back,” July 13)

In Bishop, we found that people from Los Angeles were not very welcome, as our city had obtained nearby water rights by somewhat devious means. But the people were kind to us when they found we were on our honeymoon and fixed our car. This memory is still vivid after almost 50 years.

Since that time, we have been regular winter visitors to Mammoth Lakes. Going through Owens Valley, we noticed how much drier it got each year and the inevitable dust clouds. What water Los Angeles did not take, drought did.

And building in Los Angeles continues. Where does the city plan to get the water to support all this new construction when Inyo County takes back its water?

Betty Dunbar, Hermosa Beach

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To the editor: Inyo County’s eminent domain threat may require intervention by local, state and federal interests, given the potential adverse environmental and economic impacts.

Arguably, the city of Los Angeles’ ownership of a great deal of land in Inyo County has inadvertently preserved vast tracts of precious Owens Valley view sheds that might otherwise been claimed by sprawl. The economic effects of commercial, residential and industrial development, even solar and wind farms, severely impair tourism and recreation.

Efforts should focus on restoring the dry Owens Lake, a serious health hazard, along with the Salton Sea in Southern California, the disappearance of which would be an environmental disaster.

Bruce Cort Daniels, Running Springs

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