Slake: Water & Power in the Eastern Sierra

Video series about water wars and environmental justice in the Eastern Sierra of California.

URGENT UPDATE: The Indiegogo campaign is over but you can still donate to Slake! Just send a check payabale to "Owens Valley Committee" and be sure to write "Slake" on the memo line.

Owens Valley Committee
P.O. Box 77
Bishop, CA 93515

Slake  (verb)

  1. To quench thirst

  2. To satisfy (a craving)

Support the Owens Valley Committee in the effort to protect the Eastern Sierra! 

This year marks the 100 year anniversary of the Los Angeles Aqueduct. In February 1913, the City of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) closed the “gates,” which they had constructed on the Owens River, and completely diverted all of the river's flow into their newly-constructed aqueduct. Many miles of scenic river, vast meadows, and an entire inland lake were thus deprived of water. This act forever altered the socio-economic and ecological landscape of the Owens Valley. Those of us who live here, and those who visit, experience the repercussions of this important event on a daily basis.

LA Aqueduct

Today, the LADWP, one of the largest utilities in the country with an annual budget of 4.8 billion dollars, continues its destructive water policies. Through excessive groundwater pumping, litigation, delay, and failure to honor its agreements, the agency continues to unleash damage to the ecosystem and residents of Inyo County, a county with 0.49% of the population of the City of Los Angeles.


A Search for Environmental Justice

Slake is a 5-part video series that will be posted to online video sites and will be freely available for local broadcast, public presentations, and local tourism websites. The series will be made available to media outlets to encourage greater coverage of the water issues in the Owens Valley. As an additional tool to communicate with a larger audience, particularly in Southern California, Slake will be presented in person to community organizations, civic groups and environmental organizations.

Using innovative cinematography and storytelling, Slake will be as visually arresting as it is informative. Each episode will be approximately 8 to 10 minutes long and will cover a specific aspect of water history, use, and conservation in the Owens Valley. It will inspire and educate audiences about the uniqueness of the Eastern Sierra, the effects of the LADWP’s destructive water policies and motivate them to join the ongoing struggle for ecological health and environmental justice in the Eastern Sierra. The ultimate goal is on the ground improvement to the environmental health of the Eastern Sierra and better compliance with the existing water agreements.

We need your help! 

Please help us make these films! It will make our story accessible to people outside the Owens Valley, inform the residents of Los Angeles what is happening here, and counteract the propaganda spread by the LADWP.

This campaign is to get the first two episodes off the ground. All funds raised will be used to produce the videos. If we go over our goal, the additional funds will carry over to producing the next episodes. The funding will be used to produce, film and edit the videos. PLUS, Metabolic Studio will match funds we raise before June 30, 2013.

Our goal is to release two episodes by November 5th of this year, the centennial of the opening day of the aqueduct. By doing this, we hope to capture the increased media and public attention surrounding this historic event.


Donation Incentives

We have exciting incentives donated by individuals, companies and organizations throughout the Eastern Sierra. Your donation goes go the Owens Valley Committee, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and is tax-deductible to the full exent of the law:

The Mono Lake Story DVD                   

An award-winning film about the unique and precious Mono Lake ecosystem and the battle to save it. The Mono Lake story is a rare environmental success that can inspire and inform the environmental challenges of our time. Also included is a yearlong membership into the Mono Lake Committee. Since 1978, the Mono Lake Committee has fought to protect Mono Lake from excessive water diversions to Los Angeles. Members receive the quarterly Mono Lake Newsletter, get access to special members-only areas of the website, receive action alerts for critical policy issues, and get the first chance to sign up for Field Seminars.

Living Death Valley DVD

A 40-minute film commissioned by the Death Valley Natural History Association.The film explores one of America's most enchanting National Parks. Living Death Valley was screened at the 2009 Moondance Film Festival and was the winner of the Calypso Award for best original score.

Sierra Maps

Sierra Maps is a local map publisher and distributor for the eastern Sierra Nevada region. The maps published by SierraMaps.com are locally researched, published, and updated frequently. 

The Story of Inyo by W.A. Chalfant

A historic book, The Story of Inyo chronicles the history of Inyo County from the original Paiute life, customs and legends in addition to a brief geological record of the area.  It is truly 'a must read' for the student of California history.

 Field Trip with Harry Williams

Harry Williams is an environmental activist and member of the Bishop Paiute Tribe.  This will be a 3 to 5 hour field trip for up to four people.  The trip will be an environmental and cultural tour of the Bishop area with a look into the past. Harry will customize the tour to focus on your areas of interest. It could include ancient irrigation systems, petroglyph sites, cultural sites, Fish Slough, or areas of environmental damage.

Field Trip led by Dave Wagner, Geologist

You will get a personalized tour from Dave Wagner. Dave Wagner is a geologist with the California Geological Survey (CGS), currently residing in the Owens Valley. Possible tours could be geology of Owens Valley, earthquakes, volcanoes, mines or debris flows.

Field trip led by Daniel Pritchett

You will get a personalized tour from Daniel Pritchett. The walk will look at alkali meadows and groundwater pumping in the Blackrock area of the Owens Valley.

Owens Valley Committee

The Owens Valley Committee is a non-profit citizen action group dedicated to the protection, restoration, and sustainable management of Owens Valley natural resources, especially water.  The Committee monitors compliance with and implementation of water management policy, educates the public, encourages participation in local government, and advocates an inclusive and open decision-making process.


Slake will be produced by Bristlecone Media, an award winning Production Company based out of Bishop, California with life long ties to the Eastern Sierra. Bristlecone Media has produced award winning documentaries and publicity films for:

Public Land Management Agencies

  • Death Valley National Park
  • Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
  • Grand Canyon National Park
  • Inyo National Forest
  • Yosemite National Park
  • Mono Lake Tufa State Preserve

Non-Profit Organizations

  • Death Valley Natural History Association
  • Friends of the Inyo
  • Yosemite Conservancy
  • Inyo-Mono Association For Community Action
  • Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association
  • Inland Empire Utilities Agency
  • Mono Lake Committee
  • Friends of the Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery
  • Eastern Sierra Land Trust

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” - Margaret Mead

Team on This Campaign: