A water grab 84 years ago that turned one of California's largest lakes into a dust bowl and enabled Los Angeles to boom may not have been permanent.
By a vote of
6-1 July 2, rural elected officials ordered Los Angeles to forego
diverting 43 million gallons of water a day from Owens Lake. The
commissioners and mayors said they were angry about dust storms
that left people sick and the air murky, and frustrated by 14 years
of negotiations that went nowhere. The Owens Valley, reports the
Los Angeles Times, now ranks as having the worst particle pollution
in the nation.
"I'm tired of hearing the excuses
and the alibis," said Inyo County Supervisor Michael Dorame, in the
Los Angeles Times. "The people are crying out for this, and those
who go against the people are fools."
stabilize the lake bed, valley officials ordered Los Angeles to
leave behind enough water to serve more than 100,000 families a
year, in perpetuity. The water would be used to cover one-third of
the lake bed, along with salt grass or
The city-rural war over water is far from
over, however. Los Angeles has 120 days to appeal the ruling, and
city officials have indicated they will fight to keep the water
they have been using for decades.