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Judge rules against Los Angeles in Long Valley irrigation fight

A judge has ordered the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to continue providing historic quantities of irrigation water to lessees of its pasturelands east of Yosemite, despite the agency’s assertion that climate change is making water resources in the Sierra Nevada watershed increasingly unreliable.

Alameda County Judge Evelio Grillo’s ruling could have significant implications for water agencies statewide as they face the complex challenges of servicing ratepayers and meeting environmental requirements in a time of rising temperatures, drought, dwindling snowpack and changing water availability.

The case was brought in a lawsuit filed against the city of Los Angeles by Mono County and the Sierra Club and was triggered by new leases the LADWP proposed in 2018 indicating that ranchers on its 6,400 acres in Long Valley should expect little to no irrigation water when they renew, according to court documents.

The plaintiffs argued that making significant changes in water management policies without first conducting an environmental review of the consequences was a violation of the California Environmental Quality Act.

Grillo agreed. In a recent ruling, Grillo ordered the DWP to […]

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