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Sierra snowpack overload: As Garcetti declares local state of emergency, LADWP preps for Owens Valley flooding

by AirTalk®

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Water flows through the Owens Valley before it enters the aqueduct intake. Mae Ryan/KPCC

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti this week declared a state of emergency for areas near the L.A. Aqueduct.

The declaration calls for protection of areas at risk of flooding due to this year’s Eastern Sierra snowpack, which is 241 percent above normal, about two times what Angelenos use in a year. The primary land at risk? Owens Valley, where the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) expects up to 1 million acres of runoff. Homes and hydroelectric power plants are at risk with the runoff, as well as dust mitigation infrastructure on Owens Lake, which the LADWP has invested more than $1 billion since 2000. Garcetti has also taken this as an opportunity to address climate change issues, and said he’s committed to making the city more sustainable.

So how is the LADWP planning to deal with this? And would L.A. be liable for any damages to Owens Valley?


Eric Garcetti, mayor of Los Angeles

Richard Harasick, senior assistant general manager of the Water System for Los Angeles Department of Water and Power

Mike Prather, Owens Lake advocate for the Eastern Sierra Audubon, a nonprofit wildlife conservation organization; chair of the Inyo County Water Commission

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