Readers React: L.A. is reopening deep wounds from the California water wars in the Eastern Sierra
To the editor: Before the 20th century, much of the Owens Valley on the eastern edge of California was uninhabitable swampland, which shows how much water the Sierra Nevada are capable of producing. Starting in 1913, the city of Los Angeles began draining the Owens Valley, resulting in the high, dry desert we have become.
Now, the Department of Water and Power is going after the meadows that rest high in the Sierra. It has informed local ranchers that it may soon no longer put water back into the environment they depend on.
People from all over the world vacation in the Eastern Sierra. They come because of the beauty and the splendor. They come to ski, fish, hunt, hike and camp. They come to enjoy the silence and the wonder of the mountains. Drying up our meadows will harm us irreparably.
I realize it is an impossible dream for the water to be returned to the Owens Valley, but why not help us stay green in areas? Please, Mayor Eric Garcetti, help protect the delicate ecosystem of the Eastern Sierra — for the benefit of not only Los Angeles but the entire state.
Genette Clark, Bishop, Calif.
To the editor: As reported in the article, the DWP has been annually flooding the lush plains of the Eastern Sierra, allowing ranchers, hikers and nature seekers a way of life they otherwise would not enjoy.
However, as with so many other changes people must now make, we have to give up our current lifestyle, whether we live on a ranch, in the forest or in a city. We cannot continue to use water as if it is going to always be there. We need to learn how to take shorter showers, plant desert cactus instead of grass, rid ourselves and our homes of plastic.
Although we are sad for the changes the Owens Valley ranchers will have to make, Los Angeles cannot continue flooding the area.
Linda R. Todd Dittmar, Chicago
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