Bishop, CA (March 11, 2023) – Several sections of the concrete-lined channel of LADWP’s Los Angeles Aqueduct collapsed late Friday night approximately two miles south of the town of Olancha. Due to the intense rains at lower elevations, storm water pooled on the west side of certain sections of the aqueduct channel, eroding the supporting soil, leading to the damage.
The damage did not affect U.S. HWY 395 nor any local communities in the area.
Three 20-foot concrete sections on the west side of the open channel of the aqueduct ruptured with four other sections damaged. Water flow in the aqueduct was minimal at the time of the breach. The water supply to Los Angeles is not impacted at this time. Crews have already started the temporary repairs and expect to complete before the next storm system arrives early next week.
Due to the severe storms that started late Thursday, March 9, LADWP’s Aqueduct Division activated its Water Operations Emergency Response Plan on Friday, March 10, as of 9 AM. Staff at LADWP’s four Northern District yards: Mojave, Independence, Keeler, and Bishop, were mobilized to support the response. They are focused on: public and employee health and safety; monitoring and ensuring dam safety; town and community water management and protection; overall aqueduct infrastructure protection; and highway infrastructure and safety.
LADWP Water System began 24-7 monitoring of the aqueduct to manage the flow of water. Currently, LADWP has deployed 130 aqueduct personnel to work on controlling localized flooding, monitor dam and aqueduct infrastructure, and support the protection of public property. Specifically, they are supporting canal overflowing, safety surveillance of Dam systems, and addressing the breach of the aqueduct near Olancha, among other localized incidents.
Personnel have opened both the spill gates at Alabama Hills and Cottonwood (south of Lone Pine), an emergency action to help push large volumes of aqueduct water out of the canal and open ditch systems.
LADWP’s Northern District Power System is also monitoring the storm but has remained at a normal response level for the 6,000 LADWP electric customers in the Owens Valley. Power crews are patrolling all powerlines along the aqueduct in Olancha and have resources available to assist the Water System in addressing any water management needs (LADWP does not have residential or commercial water customers in the Owens Valley).
As the situation develops we will share info publicly via social media channels focused on Inyo and Mono areas, as well as through our Eastern Sierra email distribution list.