It All Ends Here by BodieBailey

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I should say it once all ended here. This is the Owens Valley in Eastern California. At one time Owens Lake stretched the width of the valley, ten miles and it was over seventeen miles long. By the 1920s the lake was all but dry as all water that once flowed into it was diverted to Los Angeles.It had been here for thousands of years, but in the lifetime of an old rat it was gone. Like a thief in the night, literally William Mulholland and others came into the valley. They proceeded to buy land with false stories of farming, mining, and oil drilling and other tall tales. All lies, the people in the valley woke up and found the city of Los Angeles now owned most of the property in the valley.It was the water they were after. The vast stores of water covered the High Sierras. The snow melt feed the rivers, streams, and creeks that flowed down into the valley. Once the Owens Valley had orchards and farms producing goods for the West.Los Angeles wanted that bounty, it wanted to grow and expand and all they needed was a steady water supply. Later Los Angeles went further north to tap the waters of Mono, up the Central Valley, and to the Colorado River. Now the Octopus, Los Angeles with its uncontrolled growth now cries in desperation that their water supply is short.The chickens have come home to roost. John Wesley Powell said over one hundred years ago the West has no natural way sustain a large population. Still we build and expand our population with no regard to the reality we all live in. 

Owens Valley California
© David “Bodie” Bailey


kodachrome, owens valley, highway 395, water politics, landscape, owens lake

Lifelong photographer, documenting the natural and ephemeral works of man in the American West. Writer, video producer and archivist of historic photos from the 1860s including the silent days of Hollywood, Western history of Greyhound bus lines.

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  • RickDavis
    RickDavisover 3 years ago

    What an amazing view,,,,great shot of it,,,,Rick

  • Thanks Rick.

    – BodieBailey

  • RanyLutz
    RanyLutzover 3 years ago

    Well put David. Great photo also!

  • Thanks Rany, Water politics is in my blood, if you live out here it should part of your DNA.

    – BodieBailey

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