The Owens Valley Indian Water Commission (OVIWC) is one of a growing number of organizations around the world working to protect water resources and expand food security for current and future generations. Indigenous communities are at the forefront of these efforts, continuing our history of stewardship that dates back since time immemorial. Communities like ours all around the globe are struggling to maintain access to water amidst increasing scarcity due to climate change, resource extraction and export, privatization, and ever-growing corporate influence.
As a tribal entity dedicated to defending water resources, the OVIWC strives to bring together community members and allies to find common ground around the concept that water is life. We are proud of our cultural heritage and are motivated by our responsibilities to the land and the people of Payahuunadü. We take pride in being an organization built through the hard work and resilience of our community and we are dedicated to giving back.
The OVIWC was formed in 1991 for the purpose of negotiating tribal water rights with the federal government and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power on behalf of the Bishop, Big Pine, and Lone Pine tribes. In addition to this work related to the 1939 Land Exchange, we also support the environmental departments of the tribes, providing monitoring and data collection support as well as coordinating training and workshops; and we assist Indigenous farmers and ranchers with agriculture-related support.
The OVIWC is spreading awareness about the importance of defending our water resources, providing local food security, helping to educate our youth, our community, and our allies. We strive to collect and share information, nurture connections with our youth and our community, build new alliances, and encourage broad participation in decision-making about land and water resources in our valley.
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