Water Marketing A Deal That Might Save A Sierra

Gem Negotiators are trying to sustain Mono Lake by buying irrigation water from unused fields

Get your hackles up, California. We are here to discuss that choke-thy- neighbor word, water. Here being a quintessentially innocuous looking and provocative setting, the Los Angeles water intercept on Lee Vining Creek in the eastern Sierras. On a brilliant winter afternoon, knee-deep snow covers the intake pond behind a small concrete dam, and a Steller's jay swoops among the evergreens. Mount Dana, lacking only an Ansel Adams moon, is lit up crisply against a cloudless sky. And in the background (the sticking point), there is the sound of rushing water.

By recent court order, some of the creek's water pours...

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