The Waterless City

Marveling at our massive systems of aqueducts—can L.A. ever get water from local sources?

Every three months, GOOD releases our quarterly magazine, which examines a given theme through our unique lens. Recent editions have covered topics like the impending global water crisis, the future of transportation, and the amazing rebuilding of New Orleans. This quarter's issue is about cities, spotlighting Los Angeles, and we'll be rolling out a variety of stories all month. You can subscribe to GOOD here.

Los Angeles has no business being a major city. That is to say, through the plain, unforgiving lens of physical geography, there simply isn’t enough water to quench the collective thirst of the roughly 10 million residents of Los Angeles County. If it weren’t for a handful of visionaries who imagined, planned, and built the L.A. Aqueduct—one of mankind’s most incredible civic work projects to date when it was built back in 1913—the Los Angeles we know and love today would never have been.

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The Colorado River: Demand Has Now Outstripped Supply Colorado River Water Shortages: Present Concerns and Future Fears

The Colorado River has been a water source to 30 million people in seven states and Mexico. But it might not be for long. Alarming chart inside.

The Colorado River, a water source to at least 30 million people in seven states and Mexico, is drying up. It hasn't reached the sea in ages, and in 2002, for the first time, total demand for the river's water climbed higher than the total river's supply.

Last fall, to complement a Grist piece on the health of the Colorado River, we worked with the New Belgian Brewery to produce an infographic: "The Colorado River is Drying Up."

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John Wesley Powell's Watershed States Map Map: What If Our Western States Were Shaped by Watersheds?

John Wesley Powell thought our western borders should be shaped by watersheds. A 130-year-old map shows how the West would have looked.

We've covered the Western water crisis quite a bit, from the demise of Lake Mead to this startling infographic about the inter-state battles for the Colorado River's vital waters.

This tension between Western states was anticipated by John Wesley Powell, the great frontier explorer and head surveyor of the West for the federal government back in the 1880s. (You might remember him from history class as the one-armed maniac who lead the first European American expedition down the then-ferocious Colorado River through the Grand Canyon.)

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