Who was William Mulholland? Where do we get our drinking water from? What do you know about the past, present and future of L.A.’s water? Take our quiz!
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None of the above
Question 1 Explanation:
Technically, you can describe Los Angeles as subtropical-mediterranean or a semi-arid coastal plain. But it's not a desert. Back in the day, the Los Angeles Times helped foster the desert myth to convince Angelenos to support a bond measure to build the Los Angeles Aqueduct in the 1910's. The myth that LA is a desert was all propagated in Roman Polanski's 1974 classic "Chinatown."
"Remember we live next door to the ocean but we also live on the edge of the desert. Los Angeles is a desert community. Beneath this building, beneath every street there's a desert. Without water the dust will rise up and cover us as though we'd never existed!” -- Chinatown
The LA River
Imports from the Colorado River
The Pacific Ocean
Question 2 Explanation:
The Los Angeles River was originally alluvial, running over loose soil and sediment. This meant the river's path could change depending on the amount of rainfall. The river was pretty dry most of the year, but the winter brought with it flash floods. After a particularly devastating one in 1938, residents started to ask for flood control measures and efforts began to encase the whole thing in concrete. KCET has a great overview.
William Mulholland, the head of the LA Water Department and the architect of the LA Aqueduct, was
A greedy, homicidal, incestuous, megalomaniac
A self-taught engineer, born and raised in Ireland
A wacky inventor who came to LA to make his fortune
Mayor of Los Angeles
Question 3 Explanation:
If you thought it was a) a greedy, homicidal, incestuous, megalomaniac, you're probably thinking of "Chinatown's" Noah Cross (played by John Huston). If there was a "Mulholland" character in the film it would be Hollis Mulwray - mild-mannered water engineer and husband of Evelyn Mulwray. Cross is more like an amalgam of the syndicate of men who conspired to bring water to the San Fernando Valley for their own personal gain.
The Mulholland Fountain was built at the intersection of Los Feliz Blvd. and Riverside Drive because
It's the spot that water originally flowed in LA from the LA Aqueduct
William Mulholland lived in a shack at that spot around the turn of the century
The water is from the LA River which is close by
It was the cheapest place to put it
Question 4 Explanation:
Before he was the wealthy engineer he became, William Mulholland lived at this spot in a small shack and worked as a ditch tender. His job was to tend to a nearby section of the Los Angeles water channel, keeping it clear of debris so it could flow into the city's water supply.
The LA Aqueduct had devastating effects on Owens Lake, ultimately draining the Owens Valley water source. As a customer of the LADWP, how much of your water bill goes to mitigating the (arguably) toxic dust storms caused when the dry lake bed was exposed to the high winds of the Owens Valley?
A penny of every dollar
6 cents of every dollar
14 cents of every dollar
Ten dollars a month
Question 5 Explanation:
One dollar of every seven you send to the DWP goes to Owens Lake mitigation. The city has spent $1.2 billion dollars...so far. The amount of water used for dust control would serve 500,000 people a year.
How many pumps does it take to get water the 200+ miles of the aqueduct from the Owens Valley to LA?
Question 6 Explanation:
The answer is none; water flows down the LA Aqueduct entirely by gravity. Amazing!
Who is the biggest taxpayer in the Owens Valley (Inyo and Mono Counties), 200-some miles north of LA?
Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort
The LA DWP
The Bureau of Land Management
Lone Pine Paiute-Shoshone Reservation
Question 7 Explanation:
Private land ownership comprises only about 2% in Inyo County and 6% in Mono County. The BLM owns a huge amount of land, but of course as a federal agency, they don't pay taxes. The LA DWP pays taxes on the 310,000 acres it owns because they're considered privately-held.
There's plenty of water from the Owens Valley
It dried up in the 1930s
It was largely contaminated by industrial chemicals
A complex system of wells has replaced it
Question 8 Explanation:
The aquifer under the San Fernando Valley used to supply something like 800,000 people a year with fresh water - that's one of the reasons Mulholland decided to end the aqueduct in Sylmar. But it is now a Superfund cleanup site. There is hope that some day we'll be able to rely on ground water from the valley again.
What are those black plastic balls you see in L.A.'s reservoirs?
Art! A temporary exhibit to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Los Angeles Aqueduct.
Feeders, providing food to the many fish that live in the reservoirs.
Shade balls, a temporary measure to shade the water from direct sunlight, which could create harmful chemicals.
Security, a preventative measure to keep swimmers out.
Question 9 Explanation:
They are shade balls. Because of its composition of bromate and chlorine, exposure to large amounts of sunlight can cause a chemical reaction and in high levels can cause cancer.
What's the safest type of water to drink?
Any bottled water, it doesn't matter which
Question 10 Explanation:
While the regulations are similar for both tap and bottled water, and are stringent enough to make sure both sources are safe for drinking, tap water is arguably safer. Municipal water - the water that comes from your faucet - is the most tested and most highly regulated water out there. Read more here.
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