The Importance Of Having Water


A rather rare sight – the temporarily drained Silver Lake Reservoir – reminded me once again how important water is to Los Angeles.

It is true that water is important to all regions and everyone, but Los Angeles could only become what it is today because of an engineering feat: The 233 m long Los Angeles Aqueduct, projected and overseen by William Mulholland (1855 – 1935).

Once the water came to the city, from 1913 on, the city started to grow at a fast pace. So fast, that Owens Lake, where the water came from, was completely drained by 1928. This fact led to the legendary Los Angeles Water Wars, upon which the movie “Chinatown” is based.

Mr. Mulholland continued on to find new sources for water to bring to the city. He was a highly esteemed and revered character, who once was even considered to become the mayor of Los Angeles. However, when asked whether he would run for office, he reportedly said: “I’d rather give birth to a porcupine backward.” Smart guy.

Sadly his career ended rather abruptly with the tragedy of the St. Francis Dam. After this catastrophe he lived the few remaining years of his life in self-imposed isolation.

Today Mulholland Drive and the fountain at the corner of Los Feliz Boulevard and Riverside serve as a reminder of the man who played a major part in shaping the city of Los Angeles.

6 thoughts on “The Importance Of Having Water”

  1. Ah, you have touched a nerve. Our misuse of water is one of my favorite rants. More than any other resource, IMO, we waste water. In most of Texas, water is a limited and precious commodity. Yet, we do so little to conserve it. Everyone in suburbia waters their lawns all summer. Drive down any street around here, and even in the summer, it looks like Iowa. The lawns are uniformly green. We here in the dry lands should come to the realization that we do not have to have yards that look like the Emerald Isle. We need to find other ground covers or grass besides St. Augustine grass, which requires massive watering in this climate. Another of my pet peeves is golf courses. What a waster of water those are. We totally misuse our “gray” water. Our homes need to be plumbed differently so that gray water is used for things like watering (very limited watering) our yards. All of us need to be more aware of the amount of water we use for toilets, bathing, dish washing. My husband insists on practically washing clean the dishes before he puts them in the dishwasher. It drives me nuts. First, it’s wasteful of water. Second, what’s the point of a dishwasher if we wash the dishes by hand before putting them in?

    Even more than fossil fuels, water is in danger of being depleted. People managed to move about, albeit a lot more slowly, before fossil fuels were discovered. However, no one can survive without water. At the rate we are populating the world, a water shortage is inevitable, and much more potentially devastating than a fuel crisis.

  2. I fully agree with you. Just going up to Palm Springs makes me hiss and spit with anger. That whole place is practically one golf course – in the middle of the desert!

    I sometimes have the feeling that people are not aware of the water situation. You open a tap, there it is, and plenty of it. Why bother?

    However, I must say that people around here seem to be more aware of the fact that we went through some years of drought. Compared to approx. six years ago you see less often water running off lawns into the gutters everywhere and all day long. Maybe that is due to the simple fact that water prices have been hiked up quite a bit. Or maybe people are seeing the light, slowly but surely. Of course I am talking city living here – I have no idea what the situation is like in suburbia.

    The city also uses gray water for watering the highway borders etc. I am not sure what they use for the parks, though.

  3. Karen is right, of course. I live on the coast, where we are relatively water rich, but much of Texas is as dry as the West.

    On this topic – Have you seen the film Chinatown? If not, you should. The whole water for L.A. deal, (deal – as in the “deal” to make it happen) comes into play.

    One of my top ten of all time.

  4. “Chinatown” is on my “best movies of all times” list, too.

    I must have seen this film at least five times – and it is fascinating every time.

  5. Haven’t seen it, will do so. So, Brave Sir Robin, do you mean you live on the Texas coast? If so, pray tell, Brave Knight, what hamlet? We live in Georgetown, smack in the middle of the state, about 25 miles up IH-35 from Austintatious.

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