Leaders from Los Angeles and California’s Owens Valley today will sign an agreement to resolve a bitter, long-running dispute over water and dust. In 1913, a Los Angeles-bound aqueduct began diverting water from the Owens River, causing Owens Lake to dry up. The dried sediments cause severe dust storms and give Owens Valley the worst particulate pollution problem in the U.S., causing asthma attacks and other respiratory problems and endangering some 40,000 people. Under the new plan, expected to cost L.A. more than $100 million, 10 square miles of the lake will be covered with several inches of water by 2001, and L.A. has promised to do whatever it takes by 2006 to control the dust storms. Where the water to cover the lake will come from is still unresolved.

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