1970: Second L.A. Aqueduct is completed, following several years of LADWP preparing by reducing the amount of irrigated lands in Owens Valley.
1972: California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is enacted and almost immediately becomes a tool in Eastern Sierra counties’ struggle against LADWP.
1991: After years of litigation, L.A. and Inyo County sign Long Term Water Agreement that requires mitigation of past damage and manages pumping to avoid future negative effects.
1994: After years of litigation, the State Water Resources Control Board issues Decision 1631, setting a higher required level of water for Mono Lake, which had been depleted for decades by LADWP. It also mandated permanent flows for Mono Basin streams, and ordered LADWP to restore streams and waterfowl habitat damaged as a result of diversions.
1998: Los Angeles and the Air Pollution Control District reach historic Memorandum of Agreement to mitigate the decades-long problem of toxic dust at dried-up Owens Lake.
2006: Owens Lake perpetual dust mitigation project begins; cost eventually surpasses $1 billion, borne by L.A. ratepayers.
LADWP returns some water to the dry Owens River near lone pine “I think it’s just a facade, it’s a band-aid job,” says Sandra Jefferson-Young, a tribal leader of the Lone Pine Paiute Shoshone Indians
2013-Present: LADWP leases to ranchers in Long Valley and Little Round Valley operate on holdover status.
2014: LADWP approves a Conservation Strategy for the Bi-State Sage Grouse and enters into a memorandum of understanding with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on its implementation, but these are both non-binding documents.
2015: At the height of a multi-year drought, LADWP provides no water to the Long Valley and Little Round Valley lessees for the first time.
2018: LADWP informs the Long Valley and Little Round Valley lessee ranchers that it intends to renew their holdover leases without any irrigation water supply. The Keep Long Valley Green coalition forms in opposition. Mono County and the Sierra Club file a lawsuit against LADWP’s proposal, arguing that the agency must first conduct a CEQA environmental review before such a drastic change from historical practice. An interim court order compels LADWP to continue providing historical volumes of water to the lessees while the case is being litigated.
2018-Present: The Keep Long Valley Green coalition mounts media and grassroots campaigns, petitions LADWP commissioners and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office, and participates in public comments and town halls.
2020: LADWP unveils an Adaptive Management Plan for the Bi-State Sage Grouse, but like its previous Conservation Strategy, it is not legally binding.
March 2021: Alameda Superior Court rules that LADWP must undertake a CEQA environmental review before ending its historical practice of providing irrigation water to its lessees in Long Valley and Little Round Valley. LADWP hosts two virtual public hearings on L.A.’s Draft 2020 Urban Water Management Plan; the public comment period will end on 13 April.