Owens Valley Calls on Eminent Domain to Buy its Water Back from Los Angeles

Call it a reverse Chinatown.
July 16, 2017, 9am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Christopher Boswell

Owens Valley officials "have launched eminent domain proceedings in an effort to take property acquired by Los Angeles in the early 1900s," reports Louis Sahagun.

Yes, we are talking about that Owens Valley. What Sahaguan calls "An essential piece of California history and the subject of the classic 1974 film 'Chinatown.'" The moment Los Angeles bought the water rights in the Owens Valley "is still known as the original sin that sparked decades of hatred for Los Angeles as the valley dried up and ranchers and farmers struggled to make a living."

This will be the first time "Inyo County has used eminent domain rules against the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, which owns 25% of the Owens Valley floor," according to Sahagun. "Unlike previous battles with the DWP that focused on the environmental and economic damage caused by L.A.'s pumping of local water supplies, the county seeks to pay fair market value for property and water rights needed for landfills, parks, commerce and ranchlands along a 112-mile stretch of Highway 395 east of the Sierra Nevada."

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Published on Thursday, July 13, 2017 in Los Angeles Times
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