For the editor: Arguments about whether or not the Los Angeles River is sustaining life, and what is or is not “wasted” water when left in a damaged ecosystem, got me thinking about some points.

First, we have destroyed over 90% of our rivers, streams and wetlands in the LA area.

Second, I remember this quote, circa 1879, from State Engineer William Hammond Hall (no relation) about LA River flows near downtown:

“Last May, the river flow at the mouth of Tujunga Wash 10 miles above the city, where the upper dam of the Los Angeles Irrigation System is located, was 24-1/2 feet This quantity was increased by about 54 cubic feet per second from springs rising in the riverbed at various points between this dam and the town, so the total supply available was about 78- 1/2 cubic feet per second An amount that is only slightly reduced during the summer months.

(The location of this dam was roughly where the Tujunga Wash meets the LA River today in the vicinity of North Hollywood.)

I wonder how we can claim to be doing “integrated” and “one water” planning without also restoring those natural features that have evolved over millennia not only to transport and recharge water, but also to support human communities and not human.

Jessica Hall, Eureka, CA.

The writer is a landscape architect and co-founder of the LA Creek Freak blog.


For the editor: The LA River in its natural state flowed underground most of the year. It is cold to be a raging torrent during rainstorms and always is.

There is still natural flow at Glendale and Atwater, where groundwater backs up into the river where the bottom is unpaved. This is the flow that should be used in any recreational river plan.

The other “normal” flow comes from treatment plants that treat and discharge wastewater generated from imported drinking water. Many parties want rights to this water for their river projects. In the end, is it sustainable or does it make sense to import a river?

Bill Mace, San Gabriel

The writer served as deputy general manager of water systems at Burbank from 2004 to 2018.


For the editor: Allow no water to flow into the LA River? I was particularly struck by the words of Michael De Ghetto of Glendale Water and Power: “What a waste of precious water.

It is always a competition between the demands of humanity and the natural world.

De Ghetto, perhaps unwittingly, channeled William Mulholland, who acted as if rivers existed only to be used. If it was up to him, he once said, he would have Yosemite Valley carefully photographed, then “build a big dam and stop all…the waste.”

Bob Wieting, Simi Valley

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