Judge declares river dried up by diversion to LA revived
The city of Los Angeles has sufficiently restored
a stretch of river along the Sierra Nevada it siphoned off decades ago
by aqueduct and no longer has to pay fines of $5,000 a day, a judge
Inyo County Superior Court Judge Lee Cooper said the city has revived
a 62-mile section of the lower Owens River that was left essentially
dry in 1913 when its flows were diverted to the Los Angeles Aqueduct.
"I can now officially declare that the lower Owens River is a river,"
Water was directed back to the riverbed in December, marking a
concession in an infamous water war between Los Angeles and the valley
200 miles north of the city.
Ecologists said the revived river was making a remarkable recovery and
reported seeing birds, fish, and plants in the channel.
The judge had imposed the $5,000 fine per day in July 2005 when he
grew frustrated by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s
long-delayed plan to restore the river.
During a hearing Wednesday, Cooper also approved an agreement between
the DWP, Inyo County officials, residents and environmentalists that
spells out requirements for the city to keep the water flowing. The
judge warned he would impose fines under the deal if the city didn’t
meet its obligations.
"The restoration of the river has been a long-term goal of Inyo County
and we are heartened that river’s recovery is well under way," Jim
Bilyeu, chairman of the county’s board of supervisors, said in a
Source: U.S. Water News Online, July 2007