There It Is—Take It! A Car Audio Tour about the Los Angeles Aqueduct System and Owen Valley
California has one of the world’s largest, most productive, and most controversial water system. It manages over 40,000,000 acre feet of water per year. serves over 30 million people and irrigates over 5,680,000 acres (2,300,000 ha) of farmland.
To create this water system, there were many disagreements between the city of Los Angeles, farmers and ranchers in the Owens Valley of Eastern California, and environmentalists. By the 1920s, so much water was diverted from the Owens Valley that farming became difficult to do in this area. By 1926, Owens Lake at the bottom of Owens Valley was completely dry due to water diversion.
The story about how this water system came to be is chronicled in the movie Chinatown, and the book and documentary series Cadillac Desert. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the construction of the original aqueduct designed by William Mulholland, the Department of Water and Power’s (LADWP) first superintendent and head engineer of the project. There It Is—Take It!, is a free, 90-minute long downloadable audio program that seeks to shed light on the mutual past, present, and possible future of Los Angeles and Owens Valley.
The project combines interviews, field recordings, music, and archival audio and presents the historic physical source of drinking water for the Los Angeles municipality while simultaneously revealing the relationship these two seemingly polar regions of California. The audio program is meant to be played while experiencing the Owens Valley landscape along U.S. Route 395.
Stories of the one hundred year old system are told from various perspectives and viewpoints by historians, biologists, activists, native speakers, environmentalists, litigators, LADWP employees, and residents from both Los Angeles and the Owens Valley.
The 90-minute long downloadable audio program, There It Is—Take It! Is available free online. Next time I am in los Angeles, I plan to check out the Owens Valley, and play the tour. The project was created by Kim Stringfellow, who is an artist and educator living in Joshua Tree, California.
Links and Image Sources: