Sunrise light on a grove of tufa towers emerging from the water of Mono Lake with soft green and dusty-red wild grasses in the foreground, Canada geese in the shallow water with reflections of the rocky towers, and desert hills in the distance.

DWP promise at Mono Lake unkept

A May 13, 2013 report to the State Water Board revealed that the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (DWP) failed to keep its promise to monitor the health of Mono Lake. DWP unilaterally took over operations of the lake monitoring program in August 2012, displacing the independent expert scientists who had run the program for 30 years. Since then a litany of issues has ensued. As a result, critical data—such as the salinity of Mono Lake—are not being collected, and key portions of the data that are being gathered are not usable. These failures are violations of the rules set in 1998 by the State Water Board.

Due to the seriousness of this situation, the Mono Lake Committee submitted this letter to the State Water Board detailing the failures and requesting immediate action to remedy the situation before another year of data is lost.

“It’s impossible to restore Mono Lake without knowing its current state of health,” said Mono Lake Committee Executive Director Geoff McQuilkin. “Unfortunately this is a case where DWP is not keeping its promises. DWP is allowed to divert and export 16,000 acre feet of water per year—an urban supply worth more than $10 million annually. The Mono Lake limnology monitoring program is a reasonable and affordable condition of the water license that allows those exports. DWP simply needs to follow the rules.”

The Mono Lake Committee is watching DWP’s actions closely in order to protect and restore Mono Lake, and is also pursuing DWP’s streamflow violations as reported in the same report. We will post progress on this issue here on The Mono-logue.

The Mono Lake Committee's June 14 letter to the State Water Board. Click on the image to see the full letter.