From dust to deluge in Owens Valley

For more than a century water from the Owens Valley has been a major source of Angelenos’ drinking water. The City of Los Angeles owns almost 500 square miles of eastern Sierra watershed: almost as much land as the city itself.

This year, the snowpack is almost twice as large as normal, posing a threat of flooding to the Owens Valley. This led Mayor Eric Garcetti to declare a state of emergency, freeing up resources to tackle the potential flooding and to protect the valley’s infrastructure.

According to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power there are about 150 employees in the valley working, sometimes around the clock, to control where all that water goes.

The LADWP says its priorities are protecting communities from flooding, safeguarding the aqueduct and trying to stop more than a billion dollars in dust mitigation infrastructure on Owens Lake from being lost.