An Aqueduct Runs Through It

Southern California Planning Congress, in cooperation with the California Center for Land and Water Stewardship, Cal Poly Pomona presents

A Series on The Future of California’s Water Supply

Part 1 – Our Water, Our Lifestyle
3/19/2014 @ Taix Restaurant, Echo Park

The Next Hundred Years of the Los Angeles Aqueduct

The water history of Los Angeles is marked by natural scarcity, abundance, and drought. This year’s 100th anniversary of the Los Angeles Aqueduct celebrates a reliable and plentiful water source to match an expansionary vision for the city. Yet local water predictability produced resource depletion and legal wrangling in the Owens Valley where the watershed feeds the Aqueduct. Now a project called “Aqueduct Futures” proposes a cooperative 21st century realignment among stakeholders to balance water consumption, watershed ecology, economics, and culture.

Guest Speaker:

Prof. Barry Lehrman, MLA/MArch, ASLA
Project Director, Aqueduct Futures Project,
Department of Landscape Architecture, Cal Poly Pomona

Event Date and Venue:

Wednesday, March 19, 2014 (Meet and Greet at 6:30 p.m., Dinner at 7:00 p.m.)
Taix French Restaurant: 1911 West Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90026

Registration and Contact:

$40 general public, $30 Southern California Planning Congress members, $25 students with ID. On-site registration (checks only) is an additional $10 and not guaranteed. On-line registration for this event ends Friday the 14th at 5:00 p.m. Please register, select dinner option, and submit payment at :
www.socalplanningcongress.com
For further information contact Bob Fazio at (626) 765-4036 or at rjfazio@mac.com
This event is eligible for 1.5 hours of AICP Certificate Maintenance Self-Reporting Credit.

Solar Ranch pros and cons

The devil is in the details in Los Angeles Department of Power and Water’s 1200 acre Southern Owens Valley Solar Ranch proposal. This post is about a few of the tidbits not included in the DEIR (I, II, & III) or that the consultants have blatantly come to the wrong conclusion about.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of utility scale solar power like this project, BUT only when it is done in the right place and is actually Designed (with a big D) by folks like landscape architectures – not just engineered with no poetry like DWP seems to be doing.

Page 67 from SOVSR_DEIR_Vol.I_Aug_2013-reduced

Page 89 from SOVSR_DEIR_Vol.I_Aug_2013-reduced-2

Scenic impact

The proximity to Manzanar National Historic Site is the biggest boondoggle and the source of most opposition. There will be SUBSTANTIAL impacts on ‘scenic vistas’ no mater where the project is built (topic AE-1, AE-3 & AE-4). The viewshed analysis from Manzanar and 395 are pretty sloppy – note how the parking lot dominates the foreground. This isn’t the view that most visitors will be offended by.

Page 137 from SOVSR_DEIR_Vol.I_Aug_2013-reduced-3

Plus this part of the Owens Valley has great dark skies with minimal artificial lights near by – the solar ranch will substantially damage one of my favorite star gazing locations even if they try to limit light trespass.

D7K_4069

That bright spot is Lone Pine from the Manzanar Airport.

D7K_4397

The night sky from the southern alternative site, October 2012

Water

Biggest environmental issue is the impact of pumping an additional 10 acre-feet of groundwater to clean the photovoltaic panels. So how much water will be needed during construction for the concrete foundations and to control dust???

Alternative sites

To equal the 200mw capacity of the Solar Ranch, it would take just 20,000 – 40,000 residential installations at 5-10kw each. Since there are 665,992 single family houses in LA per the census, this just means that 17% of houses need to install solar panels to replace the Solar Ranch.
-Or-
The 1200 acres ‘needed’ by DWP can easily be found around Los Angeles on city owned property (for example, the Whitnall Highway R.O.W is about 120 acres)

So the statement that distributed PVs are ‘Infeasible under existing power system operational capabilities without compromising system integrity and safety’ is to kindly state, BS.

Shadows from the Sierra Nevadas and the Inyo Mountains aren’t covered. This diagram was generated by the University of Oregon Solar Path Calculator and Google Earth.

Solar Path and Shadows

Solar Path and rough estimate of Shadows.

Sun Path_Page_1

Looking at the insolation aka how cloudy it is, the Owens Valley has pristine blue skies about 25% of the time. Okay, this is using weather data for Bishop which is the nearest NOAA weather station, not for the region near Independence/Manzanar. This is a screen shot of UCLA’s Climate Consultant 5.2, using data from the US Department of Energy.

Screen Shot 2013-11-14 at 10.48.31 PM

Screen Shot 2013-11-15 at 1.02.28 AM

[Gotta get to bed tonight, I'll try to update this from the DWP meeting on Saturday or after the fact when I get a chance]

AF Exhibit

Image

Exhibit Flyer

Days from the printer’s deadline for completing the exhibit and everything is coming together with the help of Jonathan Linkus and our great closing team of research assistants (Jane, Ernesto, & Kevin).

One change worth noting is is the public reception has been shifted to Tuesday, December 3rd, 9am-11am!

Looking forward to seeing you there!

ARID Journal & Aqueduct Futures

For this November’s centennial of the LA Aqueduct, two journals (ARID and BOOM) have special issues that are really cool read for infrastructure and landscape folks. Included in ARID are two articles using data collected as part of the Aqueduct Futures project!

Barry J. Lehrman, Douglas Delgado and Mary E. Alm, Ph.D.  Aqueduct as Muse: Educating Designers for Multifunctional Landscapes

Lee-Anne Milburn, Ph.D. and Barry Lehrman, with Tiernan Doyle, Eric Haley, James Powell and Devon Santy.  Contested Waters, Unholy Alliances, and Globalized Colonies: Exploring the Perception of Water by Residents of the Los Angeles Aqueduct Watershed

Grant Lake, (c) Eric Haley 2012

On a personal note, ARID Journal also includes my dedication to my late wife, Mary Alm who died after a 15 month fight with cancer in September. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to write ‘Aqueduct as Muse’ with her.

Mary Alm, PhD 1969-2013

Mary Alm (1969-2013) was my muse, dear wife of nine years and mother of our son. She died peacefully after a grueling 15-month fight with breast cancer, just days after we submitted the final manuscript to Arid. The week before she was stricken by an undetected metastasis, I was finally able to bring her up to the Owens Valley to see the place that is now the foundation of my academic career.

As the cool and calmly collected presence reigning in my boundless ideas, Mary Alm brought focus to my life and provided the inspiration that encouraged me to aim for the moon.

As a health psychologist, Mary gave me a perspective into human behavior that enriched my scholarship into urban landscape systems and sustainability. This article was our first published collaboration to connect the gulf between our disciplines. Writing together—often at her weekly infusions during the darkness brought by the cancer—gave us strength to persevere against the relentless toll chemotherapy inflicted and to continue to pursue our dreams of future endeavors together.

As a lasting tribute to our love, this article is dedicated to Mary’s genius, goodness, and grace.

–Barry Lehrman, September 5, 2013

How engineers see water in California

reposted: How engineers see the water glass in California

California WaterBlog, DBy Jay R. Lund

Depending on your outlook, the proverbial glass of water is either half full or half empty. Not so for engineers in California.

Civil engineer: The glass is too big.

Flood control engineer: The glass should be 50 percent bigger.

Army Corps levee engineer: The glass should be 50 percent thicker.

Mexicali Valley water engineer: If your glass leaks, don’t fix it.

Delta levee engineer: Why is water rising on the outside of my glass?

Dutch levee engineer: The water should be kept in a pitcher.

Southern California water engineer: Can we get another pitcher?

Northern California water engineer: Who took half my water?

Consulting engineer: How much water would you like?

Delta environmental engineer: Don’t drink the water.

Water reuse engineer: Someone else drank from this glass.

Academic engineer: I don’t have a glass or any water, but I’ll tell you what to do with yours.

Jay Lund is the Ray B. Krone Professor of Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Davis, and director of the university’s Center for Watershed Sciences.

http://what-if.xkcd.com/6/

2030 Palette

Architecture 2030’s new 2030 Palette might just be the design tool I’ve been dreaming of – a built environment performance simulation tool that works across site, district, neighborhood, city, and regional scales. What isn’t shared yet, is the underlying methodology and data used the calculations.

If Palette is just another fancy case study browsing interface (there are plenty of those already), which is all that the screen shots and interactive tour feature, then I’ll be sorely disappointed as we desperately need a performance tool that transcends scale and integrates buildings into the larger landscape.

Once I have a chance to test it, I’ll post more. Really hoping Ed Mazria and crew have delivered. If they have, I’ll probably use Palette as the core in one or more of my studios next year.

Resilience on my mind

There are days that I feel like a rubber band – being stretched in so many different directions. Then I snap back. That is resilience.

Climate resilience is such a seductive concept like regeneration that it is one of the primary topics I teach. But not sure if we actually have the political and economic means to pull it off (nor does Andrew Revkin). Check out the video [which refuses to be embeded] of Revkin’s recent appearance at Zócalo Public Square that focused on the topic.

So what am I doing to shift the status quo? Getting stretched in all sorts of ways organizing a symposium for the LA Aqueduct Centennial with folks from UCLA (including Alex Hall and Jon Christensen who are in the video), Woodbury’s Arid Lands Institute, and my mentor Lance Neckar at Pitzer. Target date winter 2014 if we line up the funding. Stay tuned!

A quick shout out to Dan Hill for a fascinating read about the ‘Urban Intelligence Industrial Complex’ aka the ‘Smart City’ movement…