Owens Lake & LA Aqueduct Bibliography

To enhance the collective reading of The Infrastructural City organized by Mammoth, here are the highlights of the bibliographic sources from my research into Owens Lake for ‘Reconstructing the Void: Owens Lake’ and my thesis project (circa 2005). Drop me a note if you need help locating any of these sources or find new items that need to be added. #mammothbook

Owens Valley

Bishop Visitors Center; Welcome to Bishop 2003 Press Kit. Bishop California

Center for Land Use Interpretation, ‘California‚Äôs Owens Valley’, The Lay of the Land, Summer 2004

Department of Defense; Checklist of Birds, Edwards Air Force Base, California. Department of Defense. Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online. (Version 23JUN00)

Ewan, Rebecca Fish; A Land Between – Owens Valley, California. Baltimore, John Hopkins University Press, 2000.

Hall, Clarence A., et al- editors; The History of Water: Eastern Sierra Nevada, Owens Valley, White-Inyo Mountains. White Mountain Research Station Symposium, Volume 4. Los Angeles: University of California, 1992.

Hoffman, Abraham; Vision Or Villainy: Origins Of The Owens Valley-Los Angeles Water Controversy. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1981.

James, Greg, Dennis Williams, et al; Green Book for the Long-term Management Plan for the Owens Valley and Inyo County. Bishop, CA: June 1990.

Gary LibecapChinatown: Transaction Costs in Water Rights Exchanges The Owens Valley Transfer to Los Angeles’, (NSF Grant 0317375). [This paper explodes the myth that Los Angeles ‘stole’ the water from the Owens Valley, and why the farmers were eager to sell.

Olson, Wilma R; Olancha Remembered. Sacramento, CA: W.R. Olson 1997

Putnam, J. & G. Smith, editors; Deepest Valley: A Guide to Owens Valley, Its Roadside and Mountain Trails– 2nd Edition. Palo Alto: Genny Smith Books/Live Oak Press, 1995.

Sharp, Robert & Allen Glazner; Geology Underfoot in Death Valley and Owens Valley. Missoula Montana: Mountain Press Publishing 1997.
Timmer, Kerri L.; Troubled Water of the Sierra, Sierra Nevada Alliance

Varnelis, Kazys; Points of Interest in the Owens River Valley. Culver City, CA: Center for Land Use Interpretation, 2004.

Wood, R. Coke; The Owens Valley and the Los Angeles Water Controversy – Owens Valley as I Knew It. Stockton CA: University of the Pacific, 1973.

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Writing ‘Infrastructure of the Void’

As part of my engagement with the collective reading of The Infrastructural City organized by Mammoth, I wanted to share the process and backstory about my chapter in the book – ‘Reconstructing the Void: Owens Lake’. #mammothbook

The chapter title

‘Until Los Angeles’ was my working title of the drafts from October 2006 to May 2007 . ‘Infrastructure of the Void’ was the second working title and the one I’m still the most fond of. ‘Reconstructing the Void: Owens Lake’ was coined by Kazys Varnelis in the 20070820 Owens Draft. But the chapter has a longer history worth sharing.

The Back Story

The chapter emerged from the research component from my MLA/MArch thesis, the design of an alternate dust mitigation system to restore Owens Lake and create a hybrid landscape for tourism and habitat. As a resident of LA for several years before grad school, I first visited the Owens Valley on a spur of the moment road trip on Memorial Day weekend in 1998. I looked at a map of California and pointed my car into the unknown of the Eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevadas and have been haunted by Owens Valley ever since.

Then in summer of 2004, with the intent and dream of return to California, I initially choose the Los Angeles Aqueduct as my thesis topic. Through the arduous thesis proposal/approval process, the Owens Lake Playa became my focus and site.

From the Complete Report on Construction of the Los Angeles Aqueduct, 1916.

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Post-water urbanism

[I’ve been slowly crafting this post over a few months as a possible lecture – so this is just a first draft and maybe a manifesto for a future studio.]

Peak Water is very real and probably the most dire environmental issue facing civilization. Yeah, sea level rise has catastrophic implications, but the climate weirding with projected decreases of precipitation in already arid zones is what will quickly kill or displace the most folks around the world. We’ve already seen the genocide in Darfur as the 21st century’s first water war and many more conflicts like this are likely.

Q Drum water container

The loss of snowpack in the Himalayas, Sierra Nevadas, Rocky Mountains, Andes, and Mt. Kilimanjaro is already disappearing along with glaciers around the world. Many cities in India are already on the verge of running out of water. Much of the poor societies in the Middle East (such as Yemen and the Palestinians) don’t have access to the energy (or money) for desalination.

Water Stress Map

There is an old saying in the west is ‘that water runs uphill to money’. We’re already seeing cuts in irrigation in the Central Valley of California and redistribution of that water to the cities. With the looming collapse of the Sierra (& maybe the Rockies) snowpack, there will be even less water available for irrigating traditional agricultural land in the west – the only reliable source of water will be found in the cities. Water recycling will become the new status quo and perhaps large scale agriculture will move into the cities to tap this vital resource.

Will this shift be handled through wide deployment of Haegian edible estates? or maybe the model will be more of sky vegitables placing greenhouses and roof farms above every grocery store and big box retailer?

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