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CADILLAC DESERT: Mulholland’s Dream INTRO: Great civilization built in last century Built by moving rivers from beds across continent MANIPULATION of water Fought, thrived, engineered water “Next to God, there’s water” Idea of subduing nature captivates America USA went dam crazy Congress “cannot appropriate money fast enough to build more dams” “Developing world watched and marveled at our success” Natural West is barren and dry “New bountiful west is fragile construction” MOVIE: Mulholland’s Granddaughter (Catherine) Believes: Mulholland envisioned a sort of Dublin in America Civilized 19th city LA has no reason to exist NO valuable resources: especially water LA in late 19th century desperate to become modern city Mulholland began as ditch digger in LA, studied hydraulic engineering at night 1903 sucked LA River dry with 1000,000 residents Mulholland determined LA must stop growing or must find more water Owens River Valley Ample supply of water for agriculture White settlers arrive and claimed land, and water, from Indians 1904 settlers had taken Indians’ land and establish 14 towns Built elaborate system of canals and irrigation ditches Sierra Nevada Mountains on one side, White Mountains on other side True desert due to lack of rain, flowing river throughout LA Mayor Eaton brought Mulholland to Owens River (200 miles north of LA) CM: Mulholland saw “water to last us into next century” Mulholland converted from conservationist to empire-builder Capture river and move it across 200 miles of terrain to LA River owned by private farmers and federal government LA City acquires Owens River Mulholland’s men posed as federal agents claiming to be planning to irrigate Owens Valley Fred Eaton slowly acquired water rights for LA under pretense of federal project Eaton bought best/only dam sight for himself Editors of LA Times knew secret plan Gloats over triumph of its artifice, attitude of getting what you want Wealthy capitalist Realty Syndicate (power structure of LA) bought up worthless San Fernando Valley Purpose of irrigating it from Owens Valley; secrecy to make fortunes Citizens Vote for Aqueduct Vicious, slanderous campaign People voted 10 to 1 to build aqueduct During drought; wanted the water Theodore Roosevelt surrounded Owens Valley with Inyo National Forest to prevent further development to preserve water for LA Building of the Aqueduct Massive engineering project Mulholland had NO training as engineer 12’ wide pipe forged in Germany
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This note was uploaded on 04/22/2009 for the course POSC 220g taught by Professor 03:30-04:50pm during the Fall '07 term at USC.

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