It’s common knowledge that the history of Los Angeles is inextricably linked to water. While the city’s original settlers, and members of the Gabrielino-Tongva Tribe who were here before them, utilized water from the Los Angeles River, that source was insufficient to support a growing city.
William Mulholland and the Los Angeles City Water Company (which became LADWP) overcame that limitation by developing the LA Aqueduct, a feat of engineering built in the early 1900s that transported water from the Owens River Valley to Los Angeles. Although the LA Aqueduct achieved its engineering objectives and allowed its namesake to bloom, it left social and political conflict in its wake, as well as inflicting significant environmental damage to the Owens Valley.
That history is the subject of a new exhibition curated by Kim Stringfellow titled After the Aqueduct, which “…envisions the recent centenary of Big Water in the western United States as an opportunity for the various stakeholders, including Los Angeles area city dwellers, rural residents and tribal members of the Owens Valley along with engineers, farmers, scientists, historians, activists, artists, and designers to reexamine water practices and policies that link these shared destinies while considering alternative visions for renegotiating a shared future.”
For those interested in learning first hand how the LA Aqueduct has impacted lives and land over the decades, I encourage you to attend a panel discussion “with the artists and with special guest Alan Bacock (Big Pine Tribal member and Big Pine Paiute Tribe of the Owens Valley’s Water Program Coordinator) moderated by Jon Christensen (editor of Boom: A Journal of California and adjunct assistant professor Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, UCLA).
Panel discussion: Saturday, March 14, 2015, 2-4pm
Exhibition dates: March 4-April 12, 2015
Where: LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions), located at 6522 Hollywood Blvd. Los Angeles
Cost: Admission to the gallery is free with a recommended donation of $3.00. The panel discussion is free and open to the public.
The Story of the Los Angeles Aqueduct as told by the LADWP
“There it is – Take it!” – LA Times Article
“There It Is—Take It!” – Self-guided car audio tour
Owens Valley Salty As Los Angeles Water Battle Flows Into Court – NPR story