Haiwee Reservoir - Copper
H.U. 603.30

The Haiwee Reservoir complex is located in Inyo County, California, near the southern terminus of the Owens Valley, east of Highway 395, about 23 miles south of Lone Pine. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) own and operate Haiwee Reservoir as part of the Los Angeles Aqueduct-Owens River system, which supplies drinking water to Los Angeles. LADWP has historically applied copper sulfate to the reservoir to control algae blooms that impart undesirable taste and odors to the water. The following beneficial uses are assigned to Haiwee Reservoir:

  • Municipal and Domestic Supply (MUN)
  • Cold Freshwater Habitat (COLD)
  • Agricultural Supply (AGR)
  • Industrial Service Supply (IND)
  • Groundwater Recharge (GWR)
  • Water Contact Recreation (REC-1)
  • Non-contact Water Recreation (REC-2
  • Commercial and Sport fishing (COMM)
  • Wildlife Habitat (WILD)
  • Rare, Threatened, or Endangered Species (RARE)
  • Spawning, Reproduction and Development (SPWN)

Haiwee Reservoir is listed pursuant to the federal Clean Water Act, Section 303(d) for impairment due to copper. It first appeared on the 1994 303(d) list as a result of elevated copper residuals in fish tissue levels found through the State Water Resources Control Board’s Toxic Substances Monitoring Program (TSMP). It has continued to be listed because of two observed fish kills in 1991 and 1994 that were linked to copper sulfate applications in the reservoir. LADWP was issued a Cleanup and Abatement Order in 1995 (CAO) by the Regional Board as a result of the fish kills. In response to the CAO, toxicity studies were conducted in North Haiwee and the copper sulfate application practices have been changed. No fish kills have been observed in the reservoir since 1994, though copper concentrations continue to be above water quality criteria levels.

Implementation of this TMDL will focus on that portion of copper in the water column of Haiwee Reservoir that is attributed to controllable sources, such as the application of copper sulfate to the reservoir and the Los Angeles Aqueduct system. Further information or research may identify additional sources of copper to Haiwee Reservoir which can be quantified and potentially controlled.

Available Documents

  • Draft Progress Report: Total Maximum Daily Load for Copper, Haiwee Reservoir, Inyo County, California, 2001