Friday, November 25, 2011

This is Water: A History of Water in Orange County

The following is an excerpt from a work-in-progress called The Town I Live In.

"It is about the real value of a real education, which has almost nothing to do with knowledge, and everything to do with simple awareness; awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, all the time, that we have to keep reminding ourselves over and over: This is water. This is water."

--David Foster Wallace, comencement address to the graduates of Kenyon College, 2005

When we turn on the tap, or take a shower, few people take time to wonder: Where does the water come from? Like many aspects of life in developed areas, water is one of those things that we just take for granted.

But the reality behind water is vastly deeper than we might suspect. It involves agencies, agencies within agencies, politicians, lawyers, engineers, bureaucrats, and businessmen. Average folks like you and me have, historically, existed on the outside of water debates. Well, my fellow water-users, here's an inside scoop, based mainly on the book A History of Orange County Water District by Barbara Milkovich. I'm fairly certain that I am one of a very small handful of people who have actually read this book. It's no thriller, but it is instructive.

For centuries, water use in Orange County was fairly simple. Native Americans built their dwellings along the Santa Ana river and had all the water they needed to survive. This was at a time when the Santa Ana river was a real river, capable of sustaining local people, plants and animals, and not the man-made concrete trickling channel it has become.

The coming of the Spanish conquistadors and missionaries signaled the end of the Santa Ana river as it had existed for centuries. Milkovich writes, "Beginning in the 18th century, Europeans introduced their concept of community control of irrigation and water management as their colonies developed." Only a European would view a river as something to be "managed."

As they built missions and military outposts, the Spanish began the project of "controlling" the land and water for maximum yield: "Eventually the Mission [San Gabriel] had some 6,000 acres of land under irrigation, including tracts in Santa Ana." They dug ditches [or, rather, compelled the Native Americans to dig ditches] to divert water from the Santa Ana river to their crops. It was the Spanish who taught the Native Americans to abandon their "primitive" ways and to embrace "civilization."

Irrigation projects expanded as the Spanish government in California divided the land into ranchos, spanning thousands of acres, which needed increasing amounts of water.

When the United States took over California in 1851, water became a commodity to be bought and sold, like everything else. The first water company in Orange County was the Anaheim Water Company, which was owned and controlled by local landowners.

By the 1870s, other developers arrived on the scene, hoping to make lots of money off the land. A.B. Chapman (father of Charles C. Chapman, Fullerton's first mayor) and his partner established the Semi-Tropical Water Company to irrigate their lands from the Santa Ana river.

This ultimately led to a legal battle over water "rights" between the Anaheim Water Company and the Semi-Tropical Water Company, which went all the way to the California Supreme Court. Eventually, after a couple mergers of companies into larger more powerful companies, the case was settled out of court and the Santa Ana river water fell under the control of two large companies: The Anaheim Union Water Company and the Santa Ana Valley Irrigation Company. These two companies controlled and sold the water until the 1960s.

With the gold rush and agricultural boom of the late 19th century, the water of the Santa Ana river became inadequate to support all the new settlers and developers. To paraphrase a film: We drank that milkshake. We drank it up.

So developers looked to other water sources and found them in underwater artesian wells, which at one time held 2.5 to 3 million acre-feet of water in Orange County. Drawing water from these underground wells, the Santa Ana river, and the Bolsa Chica wetlands, agriculture skyrocketed in Orange County. Between 1888 and 1912, the amount of irrigated acres rose from 23,500 to 50,000.

This massive exploitation of local water resources was not without consequences. Water levels were dropping rapidly, faster than they could be naturally replenished by rain and mountain runoff. In 1925, water engineer J.B. Lippincott reported to the Orange County Board of Supervisors that the underground artesian well water had shrunk from 315 square miles in 1888 to 52 square miles in 1923.

So what was Orange County's solution to this very real problem? Did they scale back the massive development? Did they seek more sustainable lifestyles? No way. They looked eastward, thirstily, to the mighty Colorado River. They didn't want to limit growth and production. They wanted to exand, expand, expand! They wanted more, more, more! It was the American way.

In 1924, local growers like Charles C. Chapman (Orange Tycoon/Fullerton Mayor) lobbied hard for the creation of the Boulder Dam and the building of an aqueduct to bring water from the Colorado River to Orange County. They were successful. Consequently, the value of citrus crops rose in value and profits from $2.7 million in 1911 to $28 million in 1927.

That same year, 1927, saw the formation of the Metropolitan Water District, a joint business venture between wealthy growers and local governments. The MWD, which to this day provides Fullerton with water, ensured decades of water to Orange County, courtesy of the Colorado river. By 1935, 54,000 acres of orange groves existed in Orange County, irrigated by diminishing local supplies and a seemingly endless supply from the Colorado river.

In 1931, prompted by concerns over shrinking groundwater levels, the Orange County Water District was formed with the purpose of conserving and replenishing OC groundwater. The directors of the OCWD were elected by property owners, who were in turn charged a "pump tax" in addition to whatever they were paying the MWD.

Growers didn't really like the OCWD. They got sued by wealthy property owners like James Irvine (of the Irvine Company), who were less concerned with water conservation, and more concerned with profits.

Interestingly, property owners in Orange County have often opposed this OCWD "pump tax." They think it's somehow unfair that they have to help fund water conservation, despite the fact that they, and other like them, create water shortages in the first place.

Anyway, enough about water for now. I'm thirsty! Tune in next time for the conclusion of this thrilling saga!

Photobucket

The mighty Santa Ana river in all its natural beauty. This used to be a real river.

56 comments:

  1. Yeelen El Basri
    English 101
    Mon. Wed.
    1:00-2:15
    La Tour

    My goodness water! I found the article to be very interesting. It's true! Everyone takes water for granted. Whatever the situation, we use water like it's nothing. It may be inexpensive (being around 20 dollars a month only here in orange county), but it shouldn't mean that we should use it extensively. Many people might think ‘it’s only water why do we have to pay?’ But what they don’t understand is that it’s not just water, it’s a resource and eventually our rivers will be sucked dry if we don’t take precautions. Remember that rivers were the source of life (agriculture, resources) for many early civilizations (like the Egyptians with the Nile, and the ancient city of Mesopotamia [meaning the land between the two rivers] in the valley of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.) Something that really aggravates me is the use of sprinklers every night. Our grass doesn't need to be watered that much (not only is it every night but it also lasts a good 5-10 min -> it doesn’t need that much water).

    It makes me sad that the "underground artesian well water had shrunk from 315 square miles in 1888 to 52 square miles in 1923," and the only thing they thought to do was to "expand" to the Colorado rather than stop and think of a better solution. (Always about business and making money). If we don't start to take care of our environment (only thinking about the profit you'll make) we will end up having nothing left. Again you can see that people only care for making profit such as James Irvine “of the Irvine Company.” They don’t care about the conservation of water, only whether or not they can put money in their pockets. I think we should try to remember the importance of water itself and our water resources: Where they come from, and we should at least try to be conscious of how we use it, or maybe trying to limit your water usage to a minimum in order to maintain our environment in an appropriate manner.

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  2. Kevin Nguyen-
    English 101 MWF 8-850
    The concept of unitary irrigation has been around for centuries dating back to the ancient Greco roman era. The idea of sharing water is a necessity for any civilization to thrive. All primitive civilization has been founded and thrived by a large source of natural and needed source of sustain. In the ancient world castles and mighty fortresses were erected with a direct source of water in case of invaders attempt to overthrow the kingdom. Even during the ancient Greco roman era giant roman aqueducts were constructed to give the citizens of Rome a source of sustain and luxury. Though in America the concept of free natural water is no longer I viable thought. Water in corporate America has been taken hostage and sold for a quick buck. It seems like America, the land of hope and land of the free, has been taken a hold of and there is nothing that can be enjoyed freely. Even basic necessities to survive are no longer able to be enjoyed and given an opportunity to even be taken for granted. If business owners could, they would bottle and charge the natural living air that we breathe for a quick dollar to feed their mass pile of wealth. As the economy stands, 90 percent of the world’s wealth belongs to a small 1 percent of the world’s population. Like all natural resources, human beings take advantage and will find a way to monopolize on it. In the 1900’s Theodor Roosevelt attempted to save as many of our natural parks from corporate America by creating natural parks. Even now those natural parks are being under attacked especially in Alaska where prospectors are constantly trying to push to get oil. It has become a sad sight that the natural Santa Ana River has been reduced to a mere trickle of a stream. I personally have been down the Santa Ana Riverbed and the sight of the river is sad. I would bike down that path all the time with my friends and the only time that the river is more than a small trickle is after heavy rain fall. It is sad that corporate America has taken and monopolized the Santa Ana River. It is truly unfortunate that irrigation has not served its original purpose of being able to share free water to all of the citizens like that of the roman aqueducts, but now is a tool of money hungry corporate businessmen.

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  3. Hannah Landers
    English 101
    TTH 1-215
    It is truly humbling to think of all the things we have, that we take for granted. We use it so much everyday that we probaby don't even realize how many times we use it. It is so easy to think that we have an endless supply of water that will just continue to provide for us. The water supply that Orange County has is already dwindelling and, from what I read, isn't going to be getting better anytime soon. The government and their big business men aren't worried about how we get the water, they just want to expand! It is amazinf what people will do for money these days, but it is also amazing what won't do to save their money. I can understand that people want to save their money, and I can understand that people have the feeling that water comes from a magical land of never ending water, but it's just not true. Sometimes we have to sacrifice for the necessities. It is difficult when most of those in charge are just looking for more ways to get moeny out of people, but if we do our homework and stay educated on local issues we will be able to make informed decisions. This essay is a good reminder that even the simplest of needs are still limited. It is quite the wake up call for those of us that forget what water is really worth.

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  4. Water is one of the most frequently used resources in all the world. Whether its for making food or for drinking or for irrigation. Water used to be very abundant resource. But as of late it has started to bceome very scarce because of the rapid growth of population. Many people are using water for all sorts of things. Things like making food, washing their cars, watering their green grassy lawns and many more things. Big businesses are taking over many natural water sources and buying and selling the water to other people. I dont get why this happened really, i thought water was supposed to be free for everyone. Thats why its always free at restaurants and stuff. The only thing were really paying for is the plastic. The plastic water bottles that hold the water are all that we are really paying for. The plastic that can never be broken down and ends up staying on this planet forever and will one day overrun our planet. We americans can never stop consuming, and everything we see or find we try and turn it into a business so we can turn a profit for ourselves because the "American Dream" is all about eing successful and making money.

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  5. ^^^
    Richard Manriquez
    MWF 8-850

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  6. Jamie Le
    MW 1-215
    eng101
    After reading this article, I decided that I agree with your point of view. First of all, I definitely agree that people take advantage of water and even I myself take advantage of water. I often drink out of water bottles, which already is not environmentally friendly but I never finish all my water in the water bottle or I also use the water to throw on the cement or such. I actually took an environment science class where we learned about the recycling of water. Thank god that we do so, and I actually learned how to recycle water from scratch by creating a filter. I am aware from the class that people didn’t always recycle water but I had no idea that they didn’t charge for water at times. I also thought that water was always a natural monopoly and not a huge company because then we must have been getting ripped off . It is interesting to hear your point of view in everything because you actually question. I don’t question the government and stuff. Water is a polar molecule. It also has hydrogen bonds. Water has the five properties of water, its cohesive and adhesive abilities (I just spilled a water on my carpet, that’s wasting!). oxygen is negative, hydrogen is positive. Spongebob and his friends live in water. The world is made up of mostly water. Water is polar because water molecules attract more water molecules because the hydrogen are negative so they are attracted to the other oxygen on the other molecules, that’s why they attract each other. That is what makes water so amazing and such a shame for people to be wasting such a beautiful thing. It just all ties together. The damn government should have regulated the water companies long before when they did and that people should be educated on what is so amazing about water and not wasting such a miraculous thing. We can’t make water, unless you put a hydrogen atom and 2 oxygen together except for that they are gases, and they are not put in room temperature. Because you can convert a solid into liquid, and liquid into gas and a liquid into solid but not a gas into liquid so that is such a shame. Well you can, but its some complicated shit. It requires the most energy. And energy is a whole nother topic that the government screws us over with.

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  7. Dakota Durrego-Mealey
    MW 1-2:15


    I found this article to be very insightful and informative because I don’t think many people really pay attention to where water is coming from. I think water is one of the most abused resources and this article I feel sheds some light on the water history in Orange County. Water is one of the essentials to live however why do most people treat it like it endless and unimportant? I know my friend does this imparticluar and it always made me really mad because I never understood why she was so ignorant. Every time that I spent the night I remember she would brush her teeth but while she was brushing her teeth she would leave the water running. I always would say to her, “Leave some for the dolphins and the fish”. Although I was joking to her part of me was serious because I remember my dad yelled at me before for doing that? I guess you can say I was actually a pretty smart kid for saying that. The history of water in Orange County was very insightful I never really knew the behind the scenes on it and it was interesting to read. I knew the beginning history with the Native Americans and the early European settlers but the other people not so much. I didn’t realize there were two big water companies fighting over the Santa Ana River, which currently looks destroyed and desolate. I always ride my bike through the trail there and over the years I have seen the water slowly disappear. This article was able to inform me as to why that water was missing. It makes me really sad that people are just so carless about water. I mean if we are going to full on damage the Santa Ana River at least be grateful for the water that we are given. Water is not the only resource that I feel is just overlooked and taking advantage of. Food is another one that people all around the world don’t always have. Whereas here food isn’t scarce it is everywhere we turn and everywhere we look. I think if more people would just stop and think about some of their daily “wasteful” activities we could make a difference. Like my fiend running the faucet, I’m sure there are many more people like her doing that. If they would all just stop we could help in preserving water and take one huge step of success in Orange Coutny.

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  8. The story about the water business you told was a bit interesting. I didn’t know the history of it and now I do know some history about it. Hearing stories from my mother about her living in the Philippines and not having a lot to live off changed my perspective of living easy in America. In the Philippines, food and drinks don’t come to you like they do in America. You really need to save money or grow some crops. So, being in America, no I don’t take water for granted. I don’t take anything for granted. Since my dad passed away, I’ve seen more stress in my mom’s life by having to pay more bills, worry about the 5 kids she has, and everything else she deals with. She reminds my siblings and I to try to save water as much as we can. Water can be one of the most abused resources, but is also essential. We need water to make food, water lawns, shower our bodies, cleanse, and to live basically. No one should take water for granted. I think this article reminds everyone that something that is thought of so little in a day such as water can be taken advantage of.

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  9. Tory Jackson
    English 103
    Tues-Thurs
    It is interesting to hear your point of view in everything because you actually question. I don’t question. A lot of people take water for granted in our society today. In America we take little pride and give respect to those things that are natural resources to us. At least most of us think its natural resources and its free but, in reality the only thing we are paying for is the plastic that we drink the from. Water is something that we all need to survive and yet we are so careless about it. It disturbs me see how careless we are of something so important. The reality of the situation is that we are not taking care of our rivers. We live in a culture that are too busy focusing on our new cool electronics to care about the resources we are slowly destroying.The underground artesian well water had shrunk from 315 square miles in 1888 to 52 square miles in 1923," and the only thing they thought to do was to "expand" to the Colorado rather than stop and think of a better solution. i also thought the history behind the water in orange county(Santa Ana) was really interesting to read and learn about.It is sad that corporate America has taken and monopolized the Santa Ana River

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  10. Joshua Isaac Ramirez
    English 100
    TR 11:00 AM
    I decided to read the article, “This is Water: A History of Water in Orange County” by Jesse La Tour. Let me begin by saying we (us locals) need to be more conservative of water. We need to take shorter showers, reduce the use of faucet water. We need to use water more wisely because this leads to water shortages. In the past I have to admit I never really cared about water, I believed that there was an endless supply. But now that I am more educated, I now save water and educate others who do not understand the importance of water.

    The quote that La Tour used from Wallace was remarkable and took the words out of my mouth. Wallace explains how water is needed and it is what surrounds us; which are valid arguments indeed. I agree one hundred percent with La Tour’s idea that we take water for granted. First off, according to La Tour, there is a large history behind water, back in the 1800’s was bought and sold, and this was where water was becoming involved with money. Water has drove the agencies crazy with money, all they plan on doing is expanding to the Colorado River. Later, water agencies were beginning to take advantage of the water, and the water began disappearing. The government is corrupt and is money hungry indeed. The Santa Ana River is nothing more than a gap in the road; it used to have water in it at one point. I have passed the Santa Ana river many times, and never would I have guessed that there used to be filled with water.

    I agree with La Tour that America is greedy indeed and that it is main focus is money. Based on all the facts and points brought in this reading, is why this article angers me how property owners in Orange County have opposed the “pump tax.” We humans need water, without it we will all die of dehydration. Overall, this article has inspired me, and made me angry. I feel now that there is something I must do, educate others and CONSERVE WATER!

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  11. Rebecca Koos
    English 100
    Tues/Thur 11-1250
    My entire life I have lived in Anaheim Hills. I grew up five minutes away from the Santa Ana River and never really thought about its history, nor the history in California at all. I never knew that the Santa Ana River was once actually a river. I have always assumed that it was manmade and there was just land there before that. I also think it is pretty cool that the Anaheim Water Company was the first to distribute water as a product. I never knew that. Come to think of it, I never realize how important water is and how it keeps me going. I mean, I have always known that water is essential to life, but I have never actually thought about it. It is actually crazy to think about water becoming a product after only one hundred and fifty years ago. It is also crazy to think that the Anaheim Union water company and the Santa Ana Valley Irrigation company controlled all of water in Orange County until just fifty years ago.
    Although, politicians and big companies cared only about profits, I feel like a lot of cities have gotten better. Just a couple years ago, Yorba Linda had a massive water shortage and there were signs everywhere. That is just one example of an Orange County city actually taking a little bit of action with this whole water storage. I never really thought about water and it actually running out before reading this article, though. I think most people just assume that water is unlimited. It is just something that nobody thinks about. An individual household probably uses more water in a year than anyone can imagine. It is crazy to even think about this topic. I had never really thought of it before. It was also very interesting to learn about the history of water usage in Orange County. In fact, I do not think I have EVER heard of that come up in a conversation, a classroom… just anywhere! My father is a politician and I have heard him mention things about there being a water shortage in California, but I did not think about it. I just always thought of it as a problem that would one day fix itself. I mean, it rains all of the time; there is water in the ocean. Where does it all go?

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  12. Laura Booth
    English 103
    Tues/Thurs 1:30-2:50
    I found this article particularly interested. I really enjoy the fact that you read the not very interesting books, this information about how our irrigation system was formed in the places we live today is extremely informative and intriguing yet I would have never thought to pick up such a thing. I was imagining while I read this what Orange County would be like if it had not become so industrialized. The money market has really done this world an injustice. This article along with the many others we have already read from this blog has inspired me to read and ask questions. It’s not wrong to wonder why and to search for an answer. I need to drop the mindset that allows, “because I said so” to be good enough for me. It amazed me to find out that the Anaheim Water Company was the very first in Orange County, especially since I grew up in Anaheim and currently reside here. I will now think twice to letting the sink run the entire time I brush my teeth, and maybe shorten my showers just a bit. Waster is something precious that shouldn’t be taken advantage of; with the way things are going who knows how long it’ll be until we really don’t have much left.

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  13. Gus Hernandez
    English 103
    T/Th 1:30-2:50p

    We use water for so many things ,we use it so much everyday of our lives that we probaby don't even realize how many times we use it. It is so easy to think that we have unlimited water that will just continue coming to provide for us. The water supply that Orange County has is already dwindelling and, from what I got from reading this article, seems to me that it isn't going to be getting better anytime soon. Good point, if you think about it, the government and their big business men aren't worried about how we get the water, all they want to do is to expand and expand as much as they can. They don’t care about the saving of water, all they worry about putting money in their pockets. I dont see why water could just be given to us for free, just the way at any restaurant does. Buy reading how property owners in Orange County have opposed the "pump tax" isnt right. It doesnt have to be all complicated. Water is something we need to live. But since that will never happen , people need to start realizing more and being careless about how water really works. We should use it more wisely. We should try to remember the importance of water itself and its resources: like where does it come from, and also be more aware how we use it, or how ive learned to do- limit your water usage to a minimum. I defiantly learned something from this article, it opened my eyes a little, because to be honest i never really cared for water i guess . But not seeing how everything works, i will spread and share this with friends or with whoever i see wasting water.

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  14. Akeem Abdullah
    English 100
    1100 tr

    Water is one of the most essential elements of life. As Americans it rather simple to access water with our modern technological advances.I has become something that has been taken for granted. Before reading this article I had no idea that there was so much involved on a political level. My perspective is that humans are meant to live off of the land. Theretofore I would prefer that natural river rather then what is there now. Taking water from the Colorado river to irrigate orange county is only creating a bigger problem for us and later generations. Water is significantly important. Even though most people don't realized the importance of it they still need it everyday to drink and wash. It is up to us to educate ourselves and develop strategies to conserve water.

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  15. Sonia Fraga
    TR 11
    Eng 100
    Water is something that we use daily without much concern or thought about it. It should be the opposite. We should put in effort to learning where the water comes from and how we get it. Water is essential to our survival and should be looked at with more value. Taking it for granted has caused many problems in the past and in the present. Droughts have happened due to our over consumption of water. The problem began when the conquistadors stareted to regulate the rivers. They some how took it upon themselves to decide, hey, we need to regulate how much and who gets this water. Before their arrival the native amercans used what they needed for their survival and for their crops. This kept things in balance. Companies and politicians who regulate the supply and tax on water do not have the people's best interest in mind let alone the environment. This is alarming because in exchange for the money they are draining a natural resouce that every living thing needs to survive and can be dried out.

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  16. Samuel Kwon
    English 103
    Wed 4-650

    This essay took me by surprise. I saw the title of the essay and I was wonder what “water” can be talked about, and I learned that this essay was very instructive made me realize how much I and all the people around the world take advantage of water until this day. As a kid and up to this day now I always drank water like it was free and it always kept me hydrated. Obviously, I knew that wasting water would be bad but I never really cared about it, being honest. The Santa Ana river once being where we got our water from is really cool. It is really close from us, I guess it was the Orange County water supply back at the time. It sucked seeing that picture, when I first saw it I thought it was just a simple old freeway or like dried up sewer. I can not believe it was actually a river, that does not make any sense. I guess everyone uses more water than they should, and it shows by seeing that river being sucked up into the air and people. I never knew water companies were still around, and the history behind it from the 1900’s. I guess we need to stop using too much water before the Colorodo River also gets dried up then it will not be good. We will be in big trouble without water, what can we do? How are we supposed to live without water, but food? I would rather pick drinking water to survive than eating food any day. This essay was extremely instructive, I never had an English teacher push us to read about problems that happening today and I am taken by surprise. I thought it would be the boring books we had to read and write reports all day. This essay made realize to not take too much water by advantage unless I need it. Thank you essay.

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  17. Danny Sanchez
    English 101
    Tues./Thurs.
    8:30am-9:45am

    This is so true, water is deeply abused, I am personally ashamed of myself because I always wonder where the water comes from, and I still use too much of it washing dishes and watering the flowers. I don’t know any major rivers or canals or even stations that produce or have water near us. I live in Whittier and its very close to hills and mountains, so there are many trees you see that are not tropical like ones closer to the sea as in palm trees, banana trees and over here there are grand oak trees, sky scraping trees just on the streets, ancient trees, fields of grass with mushrooms and berries in them. Whenever I walk the streets with my friends, I always try to imagine the woods or a forest before pavement and even dirt roads. I imagine myself having to go through a wilderness of trees, animals and plants just to get to my friends’ houses and school. I think it would be so cool. Walking along the river would be like taking the freeway nowadays, because back than rivers lead to major civilizations that thrived from the rivers usefulness. It was an easier way to travel along than to navigate through the woods. Big business is “Big” bullshit. I have no clue why someone would want to patrol and tax the damn water. I would understand if they wanted to preserve the water so that the thousands of people, that populate these areas, do not pollute the waters but these Companies are only drying up the rivers. They are the evaporation stage of photosynthesis on steroids and with a dead end, so no water comes back to us through rain. I think if things like this were brought up and people were more open minded into the limited use of water we should use and taught ourselves major techniques on how to use water resourcefully like turning off the water every time you dry a dish or 4 minute showers and even lightly glazing the yard and flowers with a layer of water. OR, the companies can just take water from us so we can really learn how to appreciate water.

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  18. Juvencio Madrigal
    English 101
    Tu/Th
    8:30-9:45am

    I always asked that question myself, "Where does this water come from?" water is everywhere and is part of our daily life. We use it everyday and sometimes we use it too much. Water is used by companies, car washes, showers, washing dishes, filling up our pools, watering the garden, and many other things as well. We drink water everyday well at least we should but water is part of our everyday usage. Water should be talked about more carefully and more importance over of problems in the world. Water is what keeps us alive. I never knew that the Santa Fe river was once a real river. That just got me questioning even more why would someone want to take away a real river. Yeah i understand that the river is to store more water whenever it rains hard and that the Santa Fe river dried out but even then why take away a rear river in order to make a river of concrete, it doesn't make sense to me. Couldn't someone just left the river alone and still be able to form the concrete one? having this knowledge of where the water comes from is amazing.

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  19. Water is without a doubt something that we take for granted. It is one of those things that as a society, we do not really think about because we have such easy access to it. In other countries, water is something that people stress about getting every single day. However for me, I know that I can use it and drink it whenever I please. It is crazy to think about how much we use it. What would we do if we did not have such easy access to it? Sadly, water is being used at a crazy pace. Lately, water is becoming a scarce source. There has been awareness of this and people have been encouraged to take shorter showers and use as much as only necessary. I do believe that as a society we are becoming more water conscious. Big businesses are known for only really caring about money. They are not known for worrying about the environment. I found it very contradicting that the property owners of Orange County opposed the OCWD “pump tax”. You would think that if they were the ones who are creating the water shortages, they would understand the need to help the funding for water conservation. Hopefully there continues to be awareness for water conservation and people stay passionate about it. Hopefully there is more of a worry about conserving our natural resources than making money. Water is definitely something that we think we deserve at the snap of a finger. Our resources are being taken for granted. We all have many ways that we can contribute to using less water. For instance we could take shorter showers, water our laws less, and not keep the water running while we do the dishes. All of these things seem like little things, but they would all add up in a very large way. I have take notice that people want to preserve our environment. People have been using reusable water bottles, instead of using tons of plastic ones with big brand labels. I imagine that these water companies have made less money since people are becoming more environmentally aware. Water is necessary for our survival. When we really think about it, we recognize how much we use it in our every day lives. Since it is always there, we don’t realize how fortunate we are to have it. Water conservation is very important and we have to stop taking water for granted.

    Megan Clark
    T/Th 8:30-9:45
    English 101

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  20. Eunice Kim
    English 101

    This article was really interesting to read. The question that proposed in this article was the same question I've always wondered about. Where does all the water come from? I've seen a lot of the big companies with the huge water tanks, but I always wondered how or where it all came from. Receiving an sufficient amount of water in the early days were easy, because of the Santa Ana River. It would just flow right through dwellings the Native Americans had built. It was just purely the basic needs that these people needed. However, after the irrigation systems has increased, the need for water increased. This would only conclude to the fact that businesses would have increased, and the profit would come in. The purpose now became to making money, not just for simply providing water for the society. Water is a scarce product around the world and the people in the United States, even myself, take it all for granted.
    I found it contradicting when the property owners of Orange County opposed the "pump tax". Wouldn't they want to make the environment more better and make the source for waters more beneficial to the society? This just clearly showed that they only care about the profit for the business. People do not really think about where all their water comes from, since it's been a part of their lives forever, they just think they'll never run out of water. Well that was my thinking also. But knowing that it has taken rights against the people who created all this irrigation systems and everything, it kind of disappoints me that Orange County is just solely based on profit. We should acknowledge more of the fact where water truly comes from and if it upsets people, we should make a change. Water is very important and very crucial in our lives. It is the basic need for survival.

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  21. Linda Morales
    english 101
    tues thurs 830
    While reading this I realized that we do take water for granted. For whatever reason we use it for, I have never thought of where it came from or never ever worried if it was going to run out. I always knew it was going to be there. Now that I have read this I noticed that I take water for granted. I think we should not take water for granted and appreciate what we have. While reading this I never even knew there was a Santa Ana river. It was new to me to find out that there was this river so close to me. I felt embarrassed that I did not know that there was one considering it is in Orange County and I have lived here my whole life! It was surprising on how fast the population was growing and knowing that we have a demand for water. Whether it be for taking showers or watering the plants. Although this is an issue with a lot of big companies I could not help but to notice when you said “They wanted to expand, expand, expand! They wanted more, more, more! It was the American way.” I know were talking about water, but I had to pause and reread what you said. What stood out to me is when you said it was the American way because it is so true. Even though the water supply was getting short we still wanted more. It showed that we take things for granted and we do not realize it or some may not even care. I think it relates to people when they want to get the most knew item. Such as the new iPhones. Everyone wants them and they do not care how much they are they just want them. This may be a totally wrong analogy but it just seems that way to media like reading what you blog about because even though it may seem like a boring topic like why am I reading about water. It is informative and brings up issues people normally do not talk about. Some people do not even know theirs issues behind water. I don’t drink a glass of water and say “theirs issues about water and I am still drinking it.” I just do not think that way. However this did open my eyes and want to conserve water even if other people don’t.

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  22. This is Water: A History of Water in Orange County
    I found this article to be very informative and interesting because I never actually thought about how valuable water really is. I agree that people do take water for granted. Even though water is inexpensive people should be aware that there is a limited amount of water, and it is finally coming to an end. In the article it mentions that water use to be flowing in rivers and people would live off of water, weather it was too make food, drink, or even shower. Everyone uses water regularly, but some people like myself use way too much water. I can honestly say I am using up a whole lot of water. For example, when I take a shower I leave the water running for a good amount of time, I want to say about 20 to 25 minutes. That is way too long and way too much water! I should be using the water for only about 5 minutes or 10 minutes max. From now on, I will have to reduce the amount of water I use when taking a shower or when using water for anything else. Now that I am aware of how limited water is I will be more cautious and pass the word on to my family and then they can pass it on to their friends and so on. Water is valuable, therefore use it wisely!!!

    The thing I found surprisingly in the article was about the artesian water well and how it had shrunk from 315 square miles in 1888 to 52 square miles in 1923. That was a very rapid movement that saddens me and makes me feel bad because us humans do not think about the consequences we just use up water like there is no tomorrow. Well the truth is that, there will be no tomorrow if we do not stop consuming so much water. It’s time to stop consuming too much water and start preserving water instead. Because without water there is no life, humans need water to stay alive and keep the world going.

    Mayra Mendoza
    English 101
    Tue/Thur
    10:00-11:15 am

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  23. Brooke Cooper
    English 101
    Tues/Thurs- 10:00-11:15

    That article was very interesting to me. Almost everyone truely does take water for granted. People waste it in various ways including, sprinklers, showers, washing hands and brushing teeth and more. The rivers are going to be dried up if we keep using our water like its endless. I know im not one to talk because i waste water myslef, but its not purposely its just because i take it for granted, and after reading this article i am going to be more aware of my water use and tell people who i live with to be more aware as well. This article defianltey opened up my eyes and i will definaltey start to conserve water even if others arent, i am still helping! Even though water isnt that much money, its not like its limited. It made me realize that people take things for granted in life and one of the biggest things is water. I am going to reduce the amount of time when i take showers from 20 minutes to 10 minutes. I feel like brushing teeth is such a waste of water because people leave on the sink whie they are brushing their teeth. Sprinklers dont need to be on for 20 minutes they can be on for about 10 to conserve water. This article really opened my eyes and I am going to be more cautious about saving water.

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  24. This essay was really informative, and really interesting, although most of this information I already had some sort of an idea about, the details were not known to me. It is really sad that companies and the government want to ruin the natural way of things to make things civilized. The fact that we are in a water shortage should make the city change its way of life, not steal it from other people or cities. Why does everything have to be for money when it comes to civilizations? It is sad that people can’t leave nature for everyone instead they have to capitalize it and turn something that is for everyone, into something that they make money off of. These rivers have always been there and the water is always there for people to use, but they come in the area and turn it into a business to make them money.
    Water is a very important thing for today’s society, I can’t imagine what the city would do if we ran out or had a real problem with water shortage. Maybe one day we will wake up and realize that as the population keeps increasing there will not be enough water, let alone anything else for everyone. Maybe they will force us to conserve water, since most of the people I know today take water for granted, and most people do not even realize how precious it is. It is sad how little the community knows about things such as this and continues to ignore the problems. Hopefully someday people will realize and stop being so ignorant.

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  25. Michelle Kim
    English 101 TU/THUR
    10-11:15
    The article based on the history of how the water system has developed into what it is now. I had always thought that our water supply had came from man made aqueducts or for some unreasonable reason I had believed that our water supply came from the mountains. However, from this article, it seems as if we get our water supply locally from water sources like rivers, streams, and or lakes. It amazes me that in such a short amount of time that the Santa Ana river had been all used up and no one had seemed to try and conserve of the natural landmark. Just like how our nation is now, Americans, or business men or companies in these times, are always finding ways to gain profit and are oblivious to what our world and society is really in need for. I can honestly say that I also take water for granted. I take long showers and just waste water, but the really problem that were facing is that our water supply within the world is shortening very rapidly and our world needs to find ways where we can conserve and not waste this essential necessity for people to live and for our planet to "exist".

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  26. Jesus Jaime
    Eng 60 TR

    it's aamazing whatvthe scarcity of water does to people nowadays. we clearly take water for granted in this country, when water should be something that should be taken seriuosly. i have always wondered how we get our water and how i shower. my first and only thought used to be that water would come froma man made aqueduct from the mountains like those of the ancient romans.because water is something everyone need i now see why water is infiltrated by laws , businesman, and wealthy invi like many other americans take water for granted, the wolrd is becoming little by little more thirsty, because of the scarcity of water.there must be a way to keep our water avilable for everyone.

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  27. Professor Jesse La tour
    English 60 - TR 2:00-4:00pm

    I can honestly say that I agree with the statement about people taking Water for granted. Every single one of us uses large amounts of it in our everyday lives and many, I bet, don't even think twice about where it's coming from or where it's going. It's just there. I assume that this article got many people thinking about the water they use and how precious it really is. It was fascinating to learn about how the Europeans actually turned water into a commodity. Something so abundant that is necessary to our survival, to be bought and sold, and used for profit. I find it ridiculous that these people truly care more about the profit they will be making, than about the scarcity, and preservation of our water. Completely destroying a natural source of water just to make money off of it is something I still fail to understand, but it seems that schemes like this will always keep happening no matter what they use for cash. For example, now a days organic fruit and vegetables are more expensive than a McDonald's Hamburger. People have to pay more just to eat a healthy meal. It deeply saddens me that this is what "the American way" has to be like. But I guess the best place to start would be to gain a deeper appreciation of the resources we are so privileged to have, and do what we can to preserve them.

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  28. Kevin Serna: English 101 10:00am - 11:15amOctober 9, 2012 at 3:02 PM

    Kevin Serna
    English 101
    Tues:Thurs 10:00am- 11:15am
    I unfortunately fall into the category of a water consumer who rarely thinks about my use of water. It will cross my mind when I’m washing my car, or have taken an extra-long shower. What I take into consideration more than anything is the bill that will come for the use of water. Therefore I feel my use of water is entirely up to the members of my household, because of the fact that we are compensating for our consumption. I rarely give a thought to the fact that water. Being a diminishing resource even though after having read this article I realize it is. I recently saw firsthand what is becoming of lands that were once covered in water, are quickly drying up. Driving south bound on the 71 freeway I have clear and distinct memories of the vegetation that surrounds the east side of the freeway. It was lush with trees and plants, and covered almost entirely of water. When I was a kid I remember thinking how awesome it would be to venture off with a boat or in high boots, pretending I was an explorer on the amazon. When I pass by here in the present I am saddened to see that what was once a beautifully swampy area, is now hardly that.
    The area resembles a dried up lake with few parts of the land having small puddles and tiny bodies of water. At one point essentially every body of water there was touching. This made me realize how much water we are actually using, and that once it’s gone, its gone. Mankind is ran sacking earth and using cutting drilling and exploiting all of our natural resources. This doesn’t worry me, because I know that I will be long gone, by the time this becomes a factor. Although the lives of future generations will be greatly affected. Water is a great place to start, although all resources should really be considered. The gluttonous, greedy everyday life of the average American is saddening. I worry that if these habits of ours continue, there will not be much left to use in the coming years. It’s insane to think that this is a serious matter, yet it is so easily disregarded and pushed aside. Solutions to this are simple. Taking shorter showers, closing faucets, fixing leaks, and monitoring sprinkler use is a great way to begin!

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  29. Brandon Lopez
    eng. 103
    Wed.

    I enjoyed this article. It was very interesting and informative. We use water so casually on a daily bases I never really stopped to think, where does all of this water come from. Unfortunately I am one of those water consumers who rarely thinks about their water use. After reading this article it made me realize that we need to be more cautious with our water use. We never know when our water supply could run low or run out. Water is the key to our survival and with out it we are dead. We can do little things as a community to conserve more water. Such things may include shorter showers, don’t leave the water running, don’t leave the sprinklers on for to long, etc. We take water for granted and one day water is going to be scarce and we are going to wish we could go back in time to do all those little things to preserve as much water as we can. Just cause it already happened once with the underground water doesn’t mean it cant happen again. Water is the key to survival and to think we use it so abruptly saddens me and scares me at the same time. I think it is only for that we pay for our consumption of water. We abuse water as it is. Imagine how much water we would waste if there was no water bill? It would be horrendous. This way people have value for water and think twice about how much water they use.

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  30. Claudia Pena
    English 103
    W 3:30-6:40
    Water! This article was taken by surprise because I didn’t realize too much about it. I knew that we had to save water and I try not using too much water at home or any place I go to. Something similar to this is I’ve gone to the water district in Fountain Valley. It’s actually interesting place, I learned a lot. It’s sad that Orange County actually had a River. I would have never thought of this county actually having a river. I know the Santa Ana River Trail because I would always run the trial. We need to preserve water and not waste all of it and take it for granted. Eventually we will not have any water left and people will get mad because we didn’t have a second plan. It sad to see that these people don’t really care about Water but do care about the profit that comes from Water. There are other ways to get profit they are just being stubborn people who don’t have anything else to do. Then again thanks to them we have water to take showers, running faucets and so on. It’s a win-win choice but I still kind of disagree with them. Imagine if Orange County or any County didn't have water, I think everyone would go ballistic. But people don’t realize there are countries that have very little water to even drink or really bad water. Lets conserve water and give to those who don’t have any water.

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  31. Cody Houston
    English 103
    Wednesday
    Water is interesting. I find it fascinating that a handful of wealthy people and their companies have shaped the land and made these great aqueducts and dams. The Colorado river is a mighty river, and uncontrolled it flooded and thrashed the land. Now that there are dams along the Colorado people are able sponge off the mighty Colorado to feed there overuse of water. Thank god we have the Colorado or we would be screwed. Due to a Supreme Court battle, we now split the water with Arizona 50/50. The Santa Ana River is a measly concrete runny nose of a river that frankly is good for almost nothing.

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  32. Stephanie Trujillo
    English 103
    W 3:30-6:40


    While I try to conserve water everyday I did not know the history behind where water is coming from. Water companies are a lot like monopolies and are very powerful because we need water. Like many I was unaware of the struggle that many of these water company owners went through to get water to orange county. It saddens me that they also looked for a quick fix to the water shortage instead of investing time and money within orange county . Instead they went looking to other states to fix the problem, while orange county water sources diminished. I believe it is important to search for solutions for problems within our community so it can benefit it us in the long run. I am fearful that our main water source the colorado river’s water will decline. Then what will be do? We have to think about conserving all of our natural resources because we depend on them greatly. Everyone needs to take moment before mindlessly letting the water run. Everyone can make small changes that can lead to more water conservation. As well as spreading the word. Water companies like the OCWD need to fund water conservation. If we do not do this now it is going to lead real chaos in the future. I was not aware of the santa ana river never knew it existed. Once again we have proved that OC needs to fund water conservation because time and time again we keep digging ourselves into a bigger problem. While the price of water conservation programs will be high it will pay off in the future by allowing us to invest more in our city rather than in other states. I try to teach my brothers and sisters about water conservation in our home. Slowly but surely I have seen them take on small steps to waste less water. We need to take the advice of other cities or states that have not diminished their water resources if we do not know where to start. A great idea to start helping children understand water conservation would be to teach a lesson on it or even better a whole section on the importance of natural resources so they can save themselves some trouble that we are creating. Electing more environmentalists to city councils and congress could bring this to more attention and perhaps receive more media attention.

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  33. Arianne Aguilar
    English 103
    Wed 3:30-6:40

    Wow, who knew there was so much history behind the use of water and the development of conservation and all those companies fighting over water. I find it odd how something that occurs naturally and is free can have a price put on it, but then again, everything in high demand does and when it does, it builds greed and competition. The conservation of water is important and if you take and take and never consider even how precious and what a privilege it is to have water for showering, drinking, and other functions it's just so ignorant. People take water for granted, especially with bottled water. Everyone can save water and reduce the amount of plastic waste we've piled up by using a refillable water canister with tap water. This actually made me think more about where water comes from and the whole bureaucratic process behind what it took to make what is now possible and available to everyone. I used to be that person that purchased water bottles all the time, but after realizing how cheap it isn't becoming and how unfriendly it could be to the environment I since then started to recycle those bottles, or even refill them for a month or two and by another bottled water and use the same bottle, and so on. I like any kind of water, water is water. People abuse the fact of brand name uses and how expensive water is. It's the same no matter what.

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  34. Jarvous Taylor
    English 103 Wed 330
    After reading this article I realize how much water is wasted daily and how valuable water really is. I was unaware of the crisis gong on and it honestly is quite frightening to think about running out of water. water is essential to life, if we ran out I dont know what would happen. This article made me want to do all I can to help conserve water. This was article was very intersting and made gave me awareness of the situtation. I feel this article should be passed on to many others and I'm also going to share this article and information with other because I feel that everyone should be informed of this situation.

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  35. Ahhh, the oh-so-familiar conservation vs capitalism. It is the never ending battle of Good vs Evil. It is hard to imagine California or any other part of this world that has a valuable natural resource still available not fighting or has not been a part of a battle like this.

    For many years of my life I believed that the water I drank was basically filtered rain water and in no way did I think that it was actually a lot more complex than just that. It is incredible how Orange County has changed the way they use and find water since the good-ol days. Especially seeing the dump that is the Santa Ana River Lakes compound which I do not visit anymore because it keeps getting worst and worst. I use to love fishing there.

    Truth is everyone back then wanted to gain a buck or a few million of them and would do anything to capitilize in their mission. The more resources you have the more power that comes with it.

    Water is probably the biggest market out there for companies to strike it rich. Coca-Cola has made a killing so has every other major company that uses water for their number 1 ingrediant for their products. Water is everywhere and we use it for everything. It is the easiest buck they can make which cost the least.

    I don't have a problem with big companies using water for sale since I love bottle water: who doesn't we all need it. I do believe that we shouldnt be as wasteful with it however. Some should try harder than others to conserve. I've seen those waterhoses leaking, SMH.

    Everyone should do their part in not overusing everything and make their own way of using their water like buying filters which they can use tap water to use. I don't think people realize how much we can use on our own and still make wise decisions with it. But everyone has a set of rules that they live there lives on.

    Today, I can call myself a conserver in some ways though I don't live my life with any regrets if I waste to much money, kill a bug, or spend money on gas. When we die we don't take anything with us so why worry on what is wasted and ultimately I worry about the life that is yet to come.

    Johnny Kampa Eng 103 Wed

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  36. The introduction to This is Water: A History of Water in Orange County brings to mind the Colorado river. I watched a movie a short time a go about the Colorado, one of the biggest rivers in America at one time. It used to flow all the way to Pacific, by way of the Gulf of California in Mexico. I say once was a great river because today it can barely claim the status of river at all. Starting in the Rockies it is drawn from almost none stop, leading to an almost trickle by the time it reaches Mexico. All those golf courses in Palm Springs need mass amounts of water to survive, apparently much more then Mexico needs the water at all. As much a tragedy as it is, in order to support such a huge population like ours, you need huge amounts of water. To cut back on water supplies would be to cut back on people themselves. We wont really find a solution until were forced to, but with today's modern technology there's no reason we should not be converting ocean water to usable water. Eventually the Colorado, and all other rivers we draw from will run dry, but instead of waiting to that day we should address it now, give ourselves a head start. What has happened to the Santa Ana river should serves as a reminder that our current culture and economy stand in direct conflict with mother nature. Mass production of food and housing is the only way we would have been able to support a society the scale of ours. You can take the good, like the internet and all the comforts we enjoy on a day to day basis, without at least acknowledging the bad. And that's the problem, many wont, in their entire lives, realize the damage caused by simply living in the 21st century. I'm not proposing population control, just a shift in our mentality, to give back to the tangible things in life that have benefited you, the Earth being number one on that list. Instead of everyone squabbling over whose god is right, why not argue over whose tribute and dedication to every ones mother earth is the most profound and impactful. Just because you wont see its end does not mean its not coming, or that you did not have a part in it.

    James Clawson
    Eng 103

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  37. Emily Sandoval
    English 103
    W 3:330

    It was interesting for me to read “This is Water: A History of Water in Orange County” because I am also in the chapter about “Water for Life” in my chemistry course. In Chemistry we talked about how we are dependent on rivers, streams, reservoirs and other natural sources to obtain our drinking water. It’s sad to see that human beings are taking such advantage of a natural source like water just because we think everything belongs to us. Especially in Orange County we have this perception that we own everything and nothing is off limits with a price. For some reason many people believe that water is found everywhere and there’s no way it could ever run out. When it comes to drinking water, water we shower with, etc., we can only use the water that is not found in the ocean. If we could use ocean water for this purpose then I think there would be less chance we could run out but as rivers and streams dry up, our water supply can become scarce. In the United States we use the most water out of everyone. We use it mostly for agriculture which is understandable but we need to stop taking advantage of it.
    I believe we can all make our “water footprints” less if we all just become a little more conscious of the water we’re using. For example, we can turn off the water while we’re washing our hair in the shower, or combining multiple loads of laundry into one. If we all do our parts to conserve more water we can prevent shortages around the world. We use our resources as if they’re going to last to forever and people need to come to the realization that this is not the case. If you are a property owner it is also your responsibility to help fund water conservation and not just think it should be handed to you. If we all did a little more research and realized how we impact this planet then we can help assure that the Earth will still be around for billions of years. If we keep taking it for granted then it won’t be here much longer.

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  38. I too think that people take water for granted and I do myself sometime take it for granted a couple of time in my life. It is funny to think that even today mentality is the same form the past Profit Profit and more profit even to not care of what is getting sacrifice for their gains. I see it to be the same way as is with gas today in orange county as it was with water back in the day. Even though we ask the rich oil people to lower the prices cause it is ridiculousnessly high but they say "no". I don't really know the real numbers but they would still make profit in the billions if gas were to be at least $3/gallon but thats just me blogging about. Mr. irivine thought it was wrong for him to pay for the "pump tax" because he thought that it was unfair really Mr. irivine it was you and your buddies who wanted to bring water from the Colorado river cause you sucked dry the Santa River to a steam. The American Way use all the resourse than go on to the next place than use that until it get used up its funny but true. but we would do anything for money nowandays to make a profit even though we don't need three house for one family.

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  39. Professor Jesse La Tour
    T/TR 2:00-400
    Forgot to add my class information sorry

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  40. The article “This is Water: A History of Water in Orange County” by Jesse La Tour is very interesting and informative. A lot of people take water for granted and never really take the time to think about where it comes from. I never really thought about where our water came from and never knew about the Santa Ana River until I read this article. It’s crazy to think that there was a legal battle about water because that’s the last thing you would think people would be fighting for. I think that the Santa Ana River should have been left alone and not turned into a manmade channel which ruined its beauty. Whenever there is a natural space or river, people should leave it alone and enjoy the beautiful nature it offers because it is rare now days to seek that. Most cities ruin its beauty and turn it into a channel or plaza which sucks.
    People need to find ways to conserve water. There have been shortages of water before and people don’t take the issue too serious. If water does get to a severe shortage, people will start to conserve water and it will be too late. We have to start now. Water is a precious resource that we should cherish. Water is 70% of Earth. Anaheim and Santa Ana messed up in the court case. Both cities should have left the river alone to begin with. People could have gone and enjoyed a nice picnic at the Santa Ana River if it was left alone. Now, it is a channel and ruined.

    Jose Flores
    English 103
    T/R 7-8:25 am

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  41. Jessica Sanchez
    English 103
    Jesse LaTour
    March 17, 2013
    Mon/Wed 08:35
    This article was very interesting. I didn’t know the history of it and now I do know some history about it. The back ground history is something very interesting that I think that if more people knew about it they would be amazed. But I totally agree with the article that people really do take advantage of the water. People don’t really pay attention of where the water is coming from or where it came from. I could say im one of those people I really didn’t know where water was coming from. Water plays a big role of our everyday life style we use water for everything now a day. Water is one of the most frequently used resources in all around the world. Many people are using water for all sorts of things. Things like making food, washing their cars, watering their green grassy lawns, washing dishes, showers and many more other things. We the people need water for everything in life hard to believe but we do. Its just the apart of life. We shouldn’t ever take water fro granted because many people around the world don’t have as much water as we do. I think people always take water for granted and they shouldn’t. I think this article reminds everyone of how important water is to out society. That its something that shouldn’t be taken advantage of.

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  42. Rachael Mauter
    English 103
    MW 8:35


    Everything in this article is so true! I agree 100% with Professor La Tour's statements and opinions. We definitely do take water for granted, and he is right about most people not looking deeper into things that affect us daily, even if we do not really think much about it. It is interesting to me to hear about how the different water companies began and how they had to come to agreements on the distribution of the water, which started out as free in the first place. I certainly agree with the fact that the conquistadors were right in channeling the water to different areas for all to share, but changing the make up of the natural river was not necessary in my mind. Today the Santa Ana River looks nothing more than a dirty ditch to me, and it is really sad. Utilizing the Colorado River is important for Orange County, yes, but leaving our original source of water to become yet another newly man-made thing that runs through our community is a major disappointment to many. It is crazy to think that not even two centuries ago, people were living here on this land, creating lives for themselves, using natural resources, and much more for FREE. It really makes me stop and wonder why on Earth I am paying to take a shower or hydrate my body, a life-long necessity! I appreciate this article because although I thought these ways before, I will now show even more concern for my daily usage of our natural resource in Orange County.

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  43. Alexa Romero
    Eng 103
    MW 8:35 am

    It is crazy to think about how much of advantage we take o the resources around us. People need to think beyond the water you drink or the water that comes out f your shower, it is not just an unlimited supply we will always have. There are major boundaries are precautions that we should always be taking with water. Yea, for the most part our water bills are not a lot of money so people do not think much of it. In California for example, how often does it seriously rain here? We can probably count that amount of times it has rained by ourselves with our two hands. But no one thinks about these things. As long as it is not affecting us directly, we could care less to think twice. What everyone needs to understand that it is a major resource that if we continue to just care less and less about it, that we will eventually suck everything dry. The best part in this article – and I say this sarcastically- was that the “underground artesian well water had shrunk 315 square miles in 1888 to 52 square miles in 1923,” and of course the only thing that anyone could think of and what they thought was the best solution was to expand to the Colorado River. Because the problems that they were having here were obviously not enough they thought they could probably do the same thing by expanding over. Political decisions are hardly ever made for the well being of others, but for the politician to be better off. Everything they do for the most part is based off of how much profit they would get from making rash choices. There have been plenty of summers where they tell us to cut back our water, rules in certain areas that you are only allowed to use your water hoes on certain days and times. I feel like these rules should probably implement all over. Does not matter whether or not your town is suffering from a water shortage, it is just a precautionary. It is ridiculous the things that are taken for granted.

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  44. Khalide Khandaker
    English 103
    MW 8:35
    The story of water business is very interesting. It was not a new thing to me that the drinkable water that we use daily bases is very limited. Even though 70% area of this world is water, but only 2% of that is drinkable of usable for us. In Orange County water is a even bigger problem than most of the part of the world. Water resources are here extremely low, and it does not seem like authority has a proper plan to tackle this problem. Instead the authority has taken the side of it's wealthy friends their people who control business. They are expanding their business for more money without thinking about the people of Orange County. In my opinion it is not all authority and it's wealthy friends fault. People can also do lots of things to save water, and I do not think people are doing anything so far. For example I saw people's sprinkler on while it is raining. This shows most of the people just do not care about this problem. It is going to be very hard to overcome the water problem unless we figure out a cheap way to use sea water. However, if we all work together we may find a way to work around it.

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  45. Johnny Escalante
    English 103
    Mon/wed
    This article I found really interesting. Not only did it teach me history of water in Orange County, but it made me realized how important water really is. We use water for basically everything in life. We use it to shower, wash dishes, cars, gardening, hydration, water parks, pools, laundry and many more that I can't think of right now. But I can just imagine if one day our water supply was gone, this world would go crazy without purified clean water. In reality I don't think too many people realize the importance of water and take it for granted. Even I take it for granted. I sometimes leave the water running, forget to turn off the hose, take for ever in the shower, even throw away water bottles. With water there would be no fruits or vegetables. No water to hydrate cows, pics, horses, and many other animals. But it's truly amazing how water is a very complex matter that most people don't know about. Like the engineers in the article that have to fight and do all the work for us. We should be thankful that water is literally just given to us. It's a shame to know that the Santa Ana river trail used to be a real river, even though it still is but it's all dried up with bike paths along the way. I really enjoyed reading this article and learned alot about the history of water that I would have never attempted to research. I'm glad we read these things instead of boring books.

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  46. Karina Esparza
    English 103
    I am originally from Santa Ana and I remember as a child when I would go bike riding with my family I couldn’t help but stop for a quick second to look this enormous empty river. My dad would tell me that the Santa Ana river at one point use to be this use massive river full of water but while he would tell me this I could not really understand why it was empty and why is was made of concrete. Now that I am older I till this day at times wondered where most of the water comes from, when I shower, wash the dishes or even when cleaning out the pool. It is true that water is a very important part of living and being able to stay healthy. We need water for everything now a days; cleaning, showering but most importantly to drink and grow our crops that feed us every day.
    It is sad to see how we went from having too much water almost nothing do to our irresponsibility. People in general don’t take the time to learn about how we are doing in certain areas for example how bad our over usage or electricity is, how bad we are polluting the air and how bad we are overusing the water, etc. I too have never token the time the educate my-self on these important and controversial topics even tough while growing up my parents have taught me to save water and not waste it when I wasn’t using it.
    I felt it dumb how property owners are complaining about having to pay the pump tax. Why is it that these people are complaining and apposing to this when they are the cause of this problem? People waste water like there is no tomorrow than they hear that there is a water shortage so they start panicking while pointing fingers and not man up to take the blame. We are all causing this problem there for we should do something about this before things start getting worse. When I read this web blog I couldn’t help but wonder and think of how we aren’t doing anything to make things better.

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  47. Cheyenne Farell
    eng 103
    tues/thurs
    After reading this essay, it occured to me that i, myself do take running water for granted. Many places around the world dont have the luxury of clean, running water like we do. When i go to take a shower or wash my hands or do laundry, i just expect the water to come out. I never really thought about the fact that americans are paying for the water that is running through there pipes. Water is an essential thing to everyone in the world. There is running water in almost every business/place around. With it being such a needed resource for everyone, there is also just like everything else, lots of money to be made. I can see why many water companies started because it would gain them a lot of profit...but with so much water use and the low levels of groundwater that were becoming back in the day. I think that instead of looking for other resources, to use up, they should have thought harder and longer on ways to reduce the groundwater use and find alternatives so they wouldnt have to reach out to a different place and use up all that water. But of course when a big profit is involved no one thinks of long term effects or even what is right the environment, everyone just has money on there mind.

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    Replies
    1. Jazmin Diaz

      English 103

      Jesse LaTour

      T/TH 7-8:35a.m.

      Right off the bat, I had myself thinking twice between knowledge and awareness. At the same time is so simimaler but different at the time. It’s something we ought to know by just the thought of it, that’s what I seem to process by it. As I stared at the picture of what used to be the Santa Ana real river, I try to picture it how beautiful of nature it used to be. Surrounded by all its beauty of green trees and like you mentioned, “Capable of sustaining local people, plants and animals.” It’s crazy how water used to be such a free thing, never taken advantage off, and now till this day, it’s completely the opposite. I myself am a suspect to taking advantage of water, especially when I’m taking a shower. I waist so much water just by a simple shower. The idea of sharing water is a necessity for any civilization to proceed. All primitive civilization has been founded and thrived by a large source of natural and needed source of sustain. No matter what it is, it seems that water is only going to become a huge source in which we may lose it completely if we don’t be careful on how we use it. By just the thought of one day coming to a point where we actually lost water completely can’t even come to mind with me. I wouldn’t know what to actually do without water and that’s just I. Imagine the whole world, the world would go nuts. As I was reading on, one thing caught my eye real quick. I was born and raised in Anaheim and it’s so crazy to me how here in Orange County, the first water company was in Anaheim. Everytime I read one of your artcials I seems to find more and more unfamiliar information Ive never heard about my own city. I feel so inspire as I learn these little things about my city and how I bet there is so much more out there that I don’t even know about. It is also crazy to think that the Anaheim Union water company and the Santa Ana Valley Irrigation company controlled all of water in Orange County until just fifty years ago. The amount of water that used to be there that held 2.5 to 3 million acre-feet of water in the Orange County just says how much water used to be so close to the people.

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  48. Andrew Chung
    English 103
    T/Th 7-8:25am

    We have taken water for granted because we've never been in a situation where we had to ration it. Most of us here were born in a modernized community with running water, electricity, etc. It's one of the perks of being "born" a California resident, so to speak. The opening quote in your article provokes the significance of what is actually being taught in schools. I was never taught anything about water preservation or really anything else that would benefit towards my community's well-being. I think we need to educate kids about these kinds of issues and how it it's going to affect their generation. It's also important to be aware that California has a specific amount of water demands from the Colorado River that will be significantly reduced in 2016. Maybe then will the population of California realize the significance of water and how easily wasted it is. Though I think we can do a lot more as community to preserve water, I also believe it isn't completely our fault that we don't. Why would we not be at fault for our own actions? Simply because we are not aware. So we must get the word out, how? Maybe if we offered insight to these topics in schools people would be more inclined to change, because what we don't know might actually hurt us.

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  49. Chelsea Solis
    Eng. 103
    Tues&Thurs. 7AM-8:25AM
    I think it's so interesting how water is such an important factor in everyone's everyday lives. Yet, we never stop to think about it, like you said, we take it for granted. Reading your article on some history of water in the Orange County, left me really thinking about the amount of work that is put into water. It's crazy to think about how easy we have it. The access we have to water is literally effortless. All we have to do is turn the nob or flush a toilet, and wa-la, we have water. We never really think of who's supplying the water, or the amount of problems that are behind all of this. After reading how water levels were dropping rapidly, faster than they could be naturally replenished by rain and mountain runoff, this blew my mind. Who would have the about the amount of complications behind running a water company. Which I also found it very interesting that the first water company in Orange County was the Anaheim Water Company, which was owned and controlled by local landowners. Interesting because Anaheim is literally just minutes away, and to think it was Orange County's first water company is pretty cool. Water is always the cheapest beverage, go to a restaurant and the water is free, go to the store and water is a $1. Who would have known the amount of money you can make being in the water industry. For instance, Fullerton's very own mayor "lobbied hard for the creation of the Boulder Dam and the building of an aqueduct to bring water from the Colorado River to Orange County." The value of citrus crops rose in value and profits from $2.7 million to $28 million in just sixteen years. This was all happening in the early nineteen hundreds. That's a lot of money now, imagine back then! That is absolutely insane. After reading your article, I am much more educated about the way the water business works, not just in Orange County, but anywhere. I myself am one that takes advantage of water, never thinking or appreciating the amount of work put into it, which is definitely a sad thing. I believe if everyone took the time to appreciate the little things, such as water, people would be more happy and not care so much about stupid things, like the newest iphone coming out. We should care about the things that actually matter in life.

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  50. Hai Ly Tran
    TR 7:00am - 8:25 am
    Eng 103
    I have realized that people most likely take water for granted, because there is too much water out there ready for them to use. Even though they are inexpensive but we have used it extensively. I found this article fascinating because it discussed a problem that we do not usually pay attention to. It awakes us to treat water as a limited resource, use them wisely and not take them for granted.
    The water issue was much more complicated than other people usually think. It involves politicians, agencies, lawyers, bureaucrats and businessmen. The book named the history of Orange County water district gives a deeper insight into this issue, that make people have to rethink how water needs to be appreciated. Water in California was used by the dwellings of Native American from Santa Ana River. This source of water has provided for local residents, plants and animals a substantial amount of water, and not a man-made concrete trickling channel it has become. The coming of the Spanish conquistadors and missionaries has ended the source of water in Santa Ana River, which has been used for centuries. Milkovich writes, "Beginning in the 18th century, Europeans introduced their concept of community control of irrigation and water management as their colonies developed." Only a European would view a river as something to be "managed." At this time, when European comes, they started to appreciate and manage water. The Spanish started to control the amount of water and brought it to maximized yield. : "Eventually the Mission [San Gabriel] had some 6,000 acres of land under irrigation, including tracts in Santa Ana." They dug ditches [or, rather, compelled the Native Americans to dig ditches] to divert water from the Santa Ana river to their crops. It was the Spanish who taught the Native Americans to abandon their "primitive" ways and to embrace "civilization." This is interesting to me because it lets me know more about the history of water, how it was provided for us.
    Water, as other natural resources, is limited and someday, we will not have water to use if we do not know how to control it. We should not take it for granted but start to have some solution to preserve it. Water helps us in growing plants, raising animals and develop agriculture; also, it is necessary for our daily live. Therefore, we need to be aware of the protection of water or some days, our next generations will not have water to use.

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  51. Dong Yeob Lee
    Eng103
    T/R 7:00am~8:25am

    Water is an important resource people need for various reasons in their lives. Every person on Earth needs water in order to survive. After reading the article, "This is Water: A History of Water in Orange County", I realized how difficult was the process was to bring water to Orange County and also it gave the opportunity to reflect one more time about the importance of water. Some communities around the world does not have easy access to obtain water and many people suffered and even die because of lack of water. The people who have easy access to have water at their homes, school and etc must be grateful and do not waste water.
    Looking back to the article, the Indians were the first civilization who maintained the Santa Ana river and used water in order to survive. But, they could not longer have these authority once the Europeans invaded their land and took control over their land and their river. After that, maintain the land and water was a kind of business in the United States. The excess use of water provoke the water company to bring more water from the Colorado river. Another reason why they brought water from Colorado was because they did not wanted to limit the production and growth. These people who were in charge of water production were interested in money rather than millions of people's lives. These wealthy people thinks that everything can be fixed with money and use the power of money to even control these resources people need in order to survive. The job of Orange County Water District is to conserve the water in Orange County. However, the property owners elected the directors Orange County Water District and there is nothing much that has changed in order to conserve the water, because the property owners are the ones who are in charge.
    It was really interesting to know how the water system flow in our neighborhoods and also to know more about the history of water companies at Orange County. But, I am totally surprised that businessmen are dealing people's lives and make business with water all because of money. Adding more, this article made me to reflect once more about how important is water in my life. Many people around the world does not have the same chance to use the water as I do and as our community does.

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  52. Shayda Hashemi
    English 103
    Tues-Thurs
    Wow! That sure is a lot of talk about water. It's interesting to me, though! I had never really questioned where in the world my water what coming from. Where the water that I was my hands with, or shower with actually come from! I never questioned it, but it's true now that i have read this article. People really do take water for granted. Orange County went through a lot to get their own supply of water that's for sure. Now i understand why there are so many water companies out in this world, money! That's what everything is about now-a-days. They worry too much about the money part of it rather than the healthy part of it. A healthy way of looking at it is that every citizen will get the water than they need to survive, and they are going to have to pay every cent of it. And where does it go? To the water companies. This really made me want to go and research more about where the water in my home is coming from. It's so well needed and used that regardless of price, everyone gets it because they have to and some companies can take advantage of that. The photo at the end really bugged me; did that really used to be a river? Something so beautiful turned into something so tragic. A lot of places around the word really don’t have the advantages that we do with this running, clean water that we have and most, if not all, Americans really do take advantage of the water supply that they have in their homes, offices, etc. Every drop of water used is money paid, and when we don’t use that water and keep the faucets, showers, or hose running, we really take advantage of it then because, pretty much, that’s water we may never get back, so we have to really use it wisely. Water is a sacred thing, and we have to really watch what we are doing sometimes, and really think about where this water comes from and how it got to be in our homes.

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  53. Guillermo Gonzalez
    TR 7am-825am
    Eng 103

    Here in Orange County we have it easy when it comes to water, we have one of the richest kind of water underneath us and we never stop to think about it. If water was like electricity, high priced, everyone would think twice in how they used water and start preserving more of it. We literally use it for most neccesities around the house like cooking, showering, washing, and even the toilets. As well as it being so accessible to us that it never makes us think about it or worry much about it, even tough we use if from night to day. We are very dependent on our H2O but do not realize it, i don't know if water would ever be talked about as much as the internet or video games, but the reality is that H20 would never fall beneath them in form of neccessity. The founders of the first orange county water company hit their own gold mine, they saw something in that water that many probably did not. Even tough the price of water may not be as expensive as a bottle of coke or juice, you have got to think what was needed for most flavored drinks sold at high prices;water, Nearly every drink we consume contains water, or some similar form of it. We would not start thinking about it more until the day the media starts informing everyone that their is a shortage of it, we have become spoiled citizens that basically have most necessities at hand.

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  54. Michael Flynn
    T/Th 7:00am
    English 103

    Everyone has said it.. WE TAKE ADVANTAGE OF WATER and honestly, its pretty sad. I know as far as I am concerned, this writing has made me more aware of how much water I actually waste. I think about myself in the shower and how half the time I am just letting the water hit me because I like to just stand there and it feels good. I think about myself and my family of four and think about how much water we waste collectively. Then on a broader scale extend that out to my neighborhood, then my district, then my city. WE waste a TON of water every day!
    It's very intriguing to me to hear about the Santa Ana riverbed trail and its water history. I used to ride that trail every saturday morning from my house at Lincoln Ave down to the beach and back. I remember some days seeing water only on one side and the other side being so bone dry that people rode their bikes down inside the embankment.
    I remembering learning in History class during elementary school how people from many cultures used water. It is literally the source for so many things! Men fished in rivers and streams to catch fish for their families. Women washed her families clothes in the rivers. Men and women used water to bathe in and also to heat up and boil to cook food for their family.
    We need to step back and look at water and the way we are using it in excess and taking it for granted.

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  55. Mark Carducci
    Mon/ Wed
    English 103

    I am not surprised that water was such a talked subject. Coming from Las Vegas water is a very much talked subject because the major of the water from the Hoover damn just outside of Las Vegas doesn’t go to the local cities in Nevada but straight across the Mojave Desert to Orange, Los Angeles, and Riverside County. With the late 19th century and the early 20th century I could see that water was the oil of its day in California with it and a large amount of land you could make it rich without it then you were an average Joe. With water being the essential to living, agriculture and panning for gold I would to be fighting for it in courts and even maybe on the streets I mean a human can only go for so long without water.

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