Friday. Tenth of March. A section of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s L.A. Aqueduct collapsed. Two miles out of Olancha.
The cause: intense rain. “Storm water pooled on the west side of certain sections of the aqueduct channel, eroding the supporting soil, leading to damage,”reported LADWP. “Three 20-foot concrete sections on the west side of the open channel of the aqueduct ruptured with four other sections damaged.”
That weekend, 60 LADWP personnel worked to repair the seven panels. The LADWP opened the Cottonwood Spill Gate and the Alabama Spill Gate. This diverted flow into the North Haiwee Dam Complex (south of Olancha) and the Bouquet Reservoir (15 miles west of Palmdale).
Per an LADWP public affairs official, no water was diverted into the Owens (Dry) Lake. Watering the lake would impair and ultimately destroy the billions of dollars of dust mitigation infrastructure currently built on the lake.
On March 15th, the LADWP crew finished the repairs. By the time all was said and done, about 75 LADWP personnel had worked on the job, removing soil, backfilling, and placing shotcrete to help prevent future erosion.
Per a March 15th LADWP News press release: “‘Managing that many boots on the ground in a short amount of time with unfavorable conditions is no easy task,’ said Adam Perez, LADWP Aqueduct Manager.”