OVC was founded in 1983 to pressure Inyo County to fight for stronger terms in negotiations which eventually led to the signing of the Inyo-LA Long Term Water Agreement (LTWA) in 1991. When the LTWA’s EIR was then found to be deficient, OVC was invited to be a “friend of the court” to try to remedy the EIR’s deficiencies. New negotiations led to the signing, in 1997, of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). As a party to this MOU, OVC has focused its attention on MOU implementation and enforcement, notably filing three lawsuits (in conjunction with the Sierra Club) which succeeded in compelling DWP to implement the Lower Owens River Project consistent with the terms of the MOU.
In 2014 OVC broadened its mission and added a vision statement: OVC now seeks “just and sustainable management of land and water resources” and calls for the DWP to phase out its dependence on Owens Valley water while protecting open space and historic land uses. Because there would be no reason for the DWP to own land in Owens Valley if it did not depend on Owens Valley water, OVC, in effect, calls for the DWP to leave the valley and end its colonial rule. OVC is the only group in the Eastern Sierra calling, even implicitly, for the DWP’s departure. The broadening of OVC’s mission was a recognition that existing problems in resource management are best understood as symptoms of the underlying injustice of colonial rule, and that until the political injustice is remedied, resource management problems will never be solved.
Below are links to discussions of some of the many land and water management issues in Owens Valley. OVC has an interest in all these issues, even though it hasn’t necessarily taken formal positions in all of them.
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