Framework

Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

L.A. Department of Water and Power biologist Brian Tillemans launches his kayak into a thicket of tules on the Lower Owens River near Independence.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

Young women wade into the cool waters of the Owens River at California 168 east of Big Pine.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

A boy fishes on a wide stretch of Lee Vining Creek, where water is diverted to Grant Lake Reservoir for export to Los Angeles.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

The Los Angeles Aqueduct nurtures more than the big city downstream; here, tall grass grows along its path near Lone Pine.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

Lee Vining Creek flows in the Sierra Nevada range near Lee Vining.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

The east side of the Sierra Nevada range as viewed from Benton Crossing on the Upper Owens River north of Bishop.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

Clouds shroud the east side of the Sierra Nevada range near Independence.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

Shadows fall on the Owens Valley on the east side of the Sierra Nevada range near Lone Pine.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

Sunlight illuminates windows at the Alabama Gates on the Los Angeles Aqueduct north of Lone Pine.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

The Mobius Arch in the Alabama Hills above Lone Pine frames Mt. Whitney and the crest of the Sierra Nevada.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

Lubken Canyon Road rises out of the Owens Valley on the east side of the Sierra Nevada near Lone Pine.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

The Owens River channels into the L.A. Aqueduct intake in the Owens Valley near Independence.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

The setting sun casts light across the Upper Owens River at Benton Crossing, north of Bishop.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

Peaks near Tioga Pass reflect off a pond on Lee Vining Creek, created to gather water for Los Angeles in the Sierra Nevada range.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

Rain falls along the east side of the Sierra Nevada range near Independence in Inyo County.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

The Los Angeles Aqueduct flows in its unlined channel on the east side of the Sierra Nevada range north of Lone Pine.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

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L.A. Aqueduct: So much beauty, so much strife

William Mulholland’s “Big Ditch” sparked the long conflict between Los Angeles and the Owens Valley.

The stealth and deception used to obtain the region’s land and water rights became grist for books and movies that portrayed the dark underbelly of Los Angeles’ formative years, and inspired deep-seated suspicions about the city’s motives that linger to this day.

The aqueduct left no more water for the 62-mile-long Lower Owens River. It also denied water to the river’s massive catch basin, Owens Lake, which evaporated into salt flats prone to choking dust storms.

“The Los Angeles Aqueduct is as much a product of will and innovation as of sneakiness and greed,” said Jay Lund, a professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of watershed sciences at UC Davis’ Center for Watershed Sciences.

Read the full story “The L.A. Aqueduct at 100” by Louis Sahagun

Addition photo galleries: Coursing through history and California wilderness

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100 years of the LA Aqueduct

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