Bouquet Creek in wetter times.
LARC Ranch has asked the U.S. Forest Service and Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to work together to resolve an ongoing water issue that has resulted in several Bouquet Canyon wells running dry and threatens the health and safety of LARC’s staff and the developmentally disabled adults who live there.
“With the ongoing drought, our water situation has reached crisis levels,” said LARC Executive Director Kathleen Sturkey. “We, along with the residential well owners of Bouquet Canyon, are asking the government agencies to work together and resolve the problem as quickly as possible.”
The Bouquet Canyon water crisis has been in the making since 2005, when a series of storms left silt and debris in Bouquet Creek. LADWP has a contractual obligation to release a specified amount of water from Bouquet Reservoir on an ongoing basis – but when the debris in the creek caused the water to overflow onto Bouquet Canyon Road, it was deemed a safety hazard and the water flows were reduced.
That flow is now reduced to a trickle, Sturkey said, and LARC Ranch and other well owners are seeing the results, as their wells are either dry or in danger of running dry.
“We first noticed it in the winter of 2013, when our water pumps started to shudder,” Sturkey said. LARC replaced the 20-year-old pumps, and once the new pumps were installed, it became clear that the previous normal pumping capacity had been reduced by almost half.
As a licensed water distributor, the nonprofit LARC provides water for approximately 100 developmentally disabled adults who live on the 65-acre LARC Ranch, as well as the staff members who work there. Its water tank is also a vital emergency resource not only for LARC, but also for neighboring homes. In the 2007 Buckweed Fire, firefighters used LARC’s water to save the ranch and neighboring properties.
“If no action is taken, the results could be not only unhealthy but also tragic for all of Bouquet Canyon’s residents,” Sturkey said. “So, along with several other Bouquet Canyon well owners, we are reaching out to the Forest Service, the DWP and other government leaders, asking them to jointly resolve the issue by removing the debris and restoring the water flows that are so crucial to life in Bouquet Canyon.”