HISTORIC USE OF OUR NATURAL ELEMENTS - WATER IN PARTICULAR
WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE (you know the rest)
... and Preservation Foundation brings water usage to our
Four years of continuing drought in California has brought water conservation and use enforcement to the forefront of the news. Some solutions are building new dams and water-storage facilities and water market approaches re pricing, as well as seeking water elsewhere.
Preservation Foundation President Alexander Ives presented this past week Part 1 of the movie, Cadillac Desert-Mulholland’s Dream, about the role of water in the history of Los Angeles. The exploding population was using up the water supply so LA Water Department Chief William Mulholland set about seeking water to bring in. His agents quietly purchased water rights to a lake 230 miles to the east, soon depriving local farmers in Owens Valley the water they needed for their farms and animals from the Owens River. What followed was havoc, building pipelines that farmers dynamited and otherwise sabotaged. Nevertheless, the water was transported through the pipelines to Los Angeles creating new neighborhoods, the benefits from which politicians thrived. This happened in the late 1920’s.
It was a truly timely presentation as Los Angeles struggles today with water conservation and perhaps plans again to divert water from elsewhere. With an endless ocean right there, one wonders why that water can’t be converted for public use. Hopefully, someone is working on overcoming whatever obstacles there are to this obvious potential solution.
Marc Reisner, author of Cadillac Desert, describes in his book the economics, history, politics and ecology of water in the reclaiming of the American West. He was featured in the film.
If Mr. Ives focus is alerting us to our environment and making us aware of what is happening with our natural elements, he is succeeding very well.