Indian Wells Valley Water District (District) Revised 2023 Emergency Release Mitigation Project


SCH Number
Public Agency
Indian Wells Valley Water District
Document Title
Indian Wells Valley Water District (District) Revised 2023 Emergency Release Mitigation Project
Document Type
NOE - Notice of Exemption
Document Description
The Project is intended to help protect to U.S. Navy facilities at the China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS) on the China Lake playa from potential flooding and subsidence damage. A secondary potential benefit of the Project is to enhance percolation of the water released from the Los Angeles Aqueduct (Aqueduct) into the Indian Wells Valley groundwater basin (IWV Basin). On or about March 22, 2023, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) filed a Notice of Exemption advising that due to the atmospheric river systems and record-breaking snow fall, LADWP would take “emergency action” including actions to “increase water flows in certain controlled water ways throughout the LAA system”. Five (5) of the discharge gates release flows within the IWV Basin and are shown on Exhibit 6. The southern 3 release gates all ultimately flow into Little Dixie Wash which eventually flows onto the China Lake playa and thus, the potential flooding and subsidence damage. LADWP’s NOE states that they will be seeking outside services to “supplement flood damage minimization efforts”. In this respect, IWVWD staff has been and still is in contact with LADWP advising of the progress of the flows since the releases began in March. Although not retained by LADWP, District efforts should assist in attempting to mitigate any damage to Navy facilities on China Lake. Attached as Exhibit 7 is an April 28, 2023, email from Lori Dermody, Environmental Affairs Officer for LADWP, to the Flood Diversions Department at the State Water Resources Control Board reporting on the status of the releases. The email confirms the releases will last for the next “several months”. Multiple Emergency declarations justifying the needed emergency actions are included as well. Attached as Exhibit 8 is a letter dated May 10, 2023, from Captain J.T. Vaughn, U.S. Navy Commanding Officer, Naval Air Weapons Station, China Lake. A number of temporary dams will be constructed within the banks of the Little Dixie Wash in order to retain flows generated by emergency releases of excess water from the Los Angeles Aqueduct by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP). The temporary dams will be a combination of materials, including but not limited to, steel stakes, wooden planks/plywood, sandbags, and earthen dams. The temporary dams will be approximately two feet high. All materials will be removed after termination of the emergency releases. The beneficiaries of the Project are the people of the Indian Wells Valley and the U.S. Navy.

Contact Information

Don Zdeba
Agency Name
Indian Wells Valley Water District
Job Title
General Manager
Contact Types
Lead/Public Agency / Project Applicant


Parcel #
State Highways
395; 178

Notice of Exemption

Exempt Status
Emergency Project
Type, Section or Code
Sec. 21080(b)(4); 15269(b)(c)
Reasons for Exemption
14 Cal. Code Reg. §?15269(c) states that “Specific actions necessary to prevent or mitigate an emergency” are exempt from the requirements of CEQA. Here, the emergency is the need to mitigate potential property damage to Navy facilities on China Lake playa from the “emergency actions taken by LADWP pursuant to its Notice of Exemption. See also discussion under Description of Nature, Purpose, And Beneficiaries of Project.
County Clerk


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