Framework

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An aerial view of the Owens Lake bed shows a patchwork of alkali flats, gravel beds and blue-green and crimson sheets of ankle-deep water.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

One way the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is trying to reduce the amount of dust blown up from the Owens Lake bed is by filling portions of the lake bed with gravel.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

Three people from the L.A. DWP -- Martin L. Adams, director of water operations, left; spokesman Chris Plakos; and senior hydrographer Jason Olin -- walk along a roadway built in the Owens Lake bed.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

Water pours from a spout into the Owens Lake bed. The L.A. DWP is required to flood portions of the lake bed on a regular basis to reduce dust.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

An aerial view shows roadways crisscrossing the Owens Lake bed.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

Water pumped onto the Owens Lake bed forms little pools on the white-crusted alkali soil.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

An aerial view of the Owens Lake bed shows vast alkali flats.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

Water wars have raged over the Owens Valley since the early 1900s, when Los Angeles had agents pose as farmers and ranchers to buy land and water rights there, then began building the aqueduct to slake the thirst of the growing metropolis more than 200 miles to the south.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

The town of Keeler sits northeast of the Owens Lake bed.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

Dust swirls above the Owens Lake bed, forming a giant cloud.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

A dust storm creates poor visibility along California 136 near the town of Keeler and the Owens Lake bed.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

Shortly after daybreak, trucks and heavy equipment work on dust control in the Owens Lake bed.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

A dust storm fills the air along California 136 near the Owens Lake bed.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

Wayne Hopper, construction manager on the Owens Lake gravel project, watches a truck being loaded with gravel that will help control dust in the lake bed.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

Jason Olin, senior hydrographer for the L.A. Department of Water and Power, walks through vegetation growing in the Owens Lake bed.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

Water is pumped into the Owens Lake bed. The L.A. DWP uses shallow flooding to help control dust.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

Plants sprout among the shallow water pumped into the Owens Lake bed.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

Flooded portions of the Owens Lake bed host thousands of migrating waterfowl and shorebirds.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

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Dust in the Owens Valley reignites L.A.’s water war

Los Angeles and the Owens Valley are at war over water again, with the city trying to rework a historic agreement aimed at stopping massive dust storms that have besieged the eastern Sierra Nevada since L.A. opened an aqueduct 99 years ago that drained Owens Lake.

The L.A. Department of Water and Power has spent $1.2 billion in accordance with a 1997 agreement to combat the powder-fine dust from a 40-square-mile area of the dry Owens Lake bed. By introducing vegetation, gravel and flooding, the DWP has reduced particle air pollution by 90%.

But the air quality still doesn’t meet federal pollution standards. Click here to read the full story.

1 Comment

  1. July 8, 2012, 10:04 am

    These lakes add precious eveaperation with trigger much needed thunderstorms and rainfall to surrounding mountain ranges and valleys have a much needed enviormental benifit that seems to be missing from posts and the DWP artical.

    By: cojbarj@yahoo.com

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