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

Dust Up On Owens Lake Again

The LADWP has pushed back against the shifting target of dust control on Owens Lake, precipitating another round legal battles to ensure the public health along the Eastern Sierras.

So far, the Owens Lake dust control project has reduced emissions of PM10 dust by 90% – this is agreed to by both parties the LADWP and the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District. The conflict is over who should pay for further dust mitigation efforts, most of which is on land that recent archeological research shows was not submerged before the LA Aqueduct was completed in 1913, which defines the area that was agreed to in the 1997 when the dust control project was ratified. So the question is: does the LADWP or the State Land Commission pay for controlling dust on the disputed 10 square miles?

“We have no intention of walking away from our responsibility for the dust at the dry Owens Lake bed,” Nichols said. “But the reality is that we don’t create all the dust out there, never did.”

LADWP’s appeal at the California Air Quality Board is being heard today. So stay tuned for the ruling.

via LATimes

LA Aqueduct Bibliography 2012

I revisited the LA Aqueduct for a grant proposal related to the upcoming centennial of it’s opening (stay tuned), and started updating my earlier bibliography. My methodology was searching via google scholar, amazon.com and cal poly’s library. Items in bold are seminal books and essential reading about the LA Aqueduct. The links take you to the most recent edition of the book.

(all images by HAER/Library of Congress.)

OWENS RIVER DIVERSION GATES

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

Alabama Gates

Continue reading

Complete report on construction of the Los Angeles Aqueduct (1916)

While researching my 4th year studio for winter quarter 2012, I discovered that the source of some of my favorite drawings of the Los Angeles Aqueduct is now a Google Books: http://books.google.com/books?id=7yIWAAAAYAAJ

Commissioners, Los Angeles (Calif.). Board of Public Service. 1916. Complete report on construction of the Los Angeles aqueduct; with introductory historical sketch; illustrated with maps, drawings and photographs. Los Angeles Department of Public Service.