Owens Lake plan to till dirt will reduce dust, save water: Officials

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Mayor Garcetti announced a new agreement with air regulators from the Owens Valley to improve existing dust-control measures and provide LA with more water.

After years of litigation, the city of Los Angeles says it has reached an agreement on dust mitigation issues at Owens Lake. The plan has a lot of support.

At a news conference at Los Angeles Department of Water and Power headquarters Friday, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti announced a new agreement with air regulators from the Owens Valley that he says will improve upon existing dust-control measures, while providing Los Angeles with more water.

The dry Owens Lake bed, not far from Death Valley, has been a bone of contention ever since the LADWP started diverting water decades ago using a 238-mile aqueduct, William Mulholland's crowning achievement, that took water from the Owens Valley and fed it to a thirsty Los Angeles.

For the past 15 years, the LADWP has tried to mitigate some of dust-related problems, and Friday there was a breakthrough in L.A.'s efforts to make amends.

The agreement with the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District means that the DWP will employ a more efficient way of controlling the lake bed's dust.

Previous efforts have focused mainly on flooding the lake bed. Now the DWP will attempt to cut deep rows into parts of the lake bed, which they say will help save water.

We can all understand how flooding the lake bed can help control the dust, but by tilling the lake bed and turning the soil, experts say less water will be used.

Experts say tilling the clay from the mud will trap the dust, which could save up to 3 billion gallons of water per year.

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