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4 DRY DECADES COME TO AN END AS RIVER GORGE AGAIN GETS WATER

Water flowed into the Owens River Gorge on Friday for the first time in more than 40 years as the city of Los Angeles set free the Sierra Nevada water course it dried up in its quest for water and power.

A turn of a crank opened a 6-inch gap in a dam at a Los Angeles Department of Water and Power hydroelectric plant, and water poured through a pipe and spilled into the 1,000-foot-deep gorge, a once-famous trout fishery.The city, which has acquired water earnestly over the decades, agreed to re-water the gorge because of lawsuits and pressure by local authorities and wildlife interests.

"As life becomes more complex it becomes more apparent there are no clear choices. We must all work to find the right balance," said Bernie Kalp, the DWP's assistant chief engineer.

Much of the water will sink into the ground until the water table rises. It may take a month for the stream to reach a reservoir 10 miles away.

The flow was only about 16 cubic feet per second, but re-watering the river was a symbolic change in Los Angeles water history.