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  • 1 Post By darkshadow
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Old 08-05-2014, 10:42 AM
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Default Cadillac Desert

Reading the various posts on our drought, I wanted to post this link to the 90's documentary "Cadillac Desert". The first episode, "Mulholland's Dream", explains all the scheming behind how LA acquired the water from the Sierras - - and how we got to our present situation.
I read the book years ago, and the details are even more outrageous than in the documentary. (If you continue in the series, Floyd Dominy's era of the Bureau of Reclamation is like Mad Men-meets-civil engineering.)

Caveat: on YouTube, you have to watch it in multiple parts, and unfortunately the quality of the audio and visuals does not do justice to the original.
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Old 08-05-2014, 12:29 PM
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Default Re: Cadillac Desert

Kinda like the movie Chinatown.

Every time I drive up the 395, I look at Owens Lake to see what it has become.

Meanwhile, while going to work today, I'm watching half of the store owners in downtown water their sidewalks down, trash and water running into the gutters.

Remember when brooms used to exist and you threw trash into trash cans?

Just another day in LA.
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Old 08-05-2014, 02:44 PM
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Default Re: Cadillac Desert

@darkshadow - not trying to get too political here, but in the recent statewide emergency conservation measures, there's an exemption for washing sidewalks for sanitary purposes. LA county alone has an estimated 50,000 people who are homeless. If those shopkeepers you saw are in downtown core, there's a good chance you saw them washing the previous night's urine off their walls and sidewalks.
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Old 08-05-2014, 06:09 PM
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Default Re: Cadillac Desert

Respectfully, from what I've read, if LA did not tie up the water rights to most of the Owens Valley, today the Owens Valley would likely look a lot like Fresno or Bakersfield.
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Old 08-05-2014, 06:11 PM
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Default Re: Cadillac Desert

Marc Reisner's Cadillac Desert is a great book. Anyone interested in water policy and politics in the west will find it a great starting point. He does a great job reporting on Dominey's "moving water is wasted water" ethic.....
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Old 08-05-2014, 06:43 PM
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Default Re: Cadillac Desert

Quote:
Originally Posted by acorad View Post
Respectfully, from what I've read, if LA did not tie up the water rights to most of the Owens Valley, today the Owens Valley would likely look a lot like Fresno or Bakersfield.
Years ago Rick Steves (the PBS travel show host) posited that almost every well-preserved place has stayed that way because some disaster befell it in earlier times, rendering the inhabitants unable to demolish the old stuff in the name of progress - - at least long enough for them to recognize that the old stuff was still worth keeping. For example, the Cotswold villages in England had their wool industry devastated by American cotton, so they got stuck in the past. Their old village buildings now look like a quaint Thomas Kinkaide painting.

Likewise, there are many who would say the reason we enjoy a relatively pristine Eastern Sierra is because the DWP destroyed any chance for locals to over-develop it. I have to admit, it looks more natural to me than the western side of the Sierras.

That said, I would not propose walking into a bar in Lone Pine and raising a toast to the LADWP!
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Last edited by yikes; 08-05-2014 at 11:13 PM.
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Old 08-06-2014, 05:08 PM
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Default Re: Cadillac Desert

Quote:
Originally Posted by yikes View Post
@darkshadow - not trying to get too political here, but in the recent statewide emergency conservation measures, there's an exemption for washing sidewalks for sanitary purposes. LA county alone has an estimated 50,000 people who are homeless. If those shopkeepers you saw are in downtown core, there's a good chance you saw them washing the previous night's urine off their walls and sidewalks.
yikes,

I didn't know about the exemption. Thanks for that tidbit, and I totally understand where they're coming from.
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Old 08-14-2014, 11:48 AM
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Default Re: Cadillac Desert

Quote:
Originally Posted by yikes View Post
Years ago Rick Steves (the PBS travel show host) posited that almost every well-preserved place has stayed that way because some disaster befell it in earlier times, rendering the inhabitants unable to demolish the old stuff in the name of progress - - at least long enough for them to recognize that the old stuff was still worth keeping. For example, the Cotswold villages in England had their wool industry devastated by American cotton, so they got stuck in the past. Their old village buildings now look like a quaint Thomas Kinkaide painting.

Likewise, there are many who would say the reason we enjoy a relatively pristine Eastern Sierra is because the DWP destroyed any chance for locals to over-develop it. I have to admit, it looks more natural to me than the western side of the Sierras.

That said, I would not propose walking into a bar in Lone Pine and raising a toast to the LADWP!
Great point.

I was just reading about trout and wildlife in the two Koreas, and how the DMZ is about the only location in either country that is reasonably well preserved. It holds the headwaters for several rivers that support lenok, Korea's native trout/char, as well as traditional stopovers for various migrating bird species, etc.

Andy
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