San Luis Reservoir, at 19 percent of capacity, September 2014.

Watermark: Along the California Aqueduct

Modern California is an extraordinary achievement. To make a semi-arid region habitable and prosperous has required massive geo-engineering — reservoirs, dams, aqueducts, canals, pumping stations, and treatment plants, all dedicated to harvesting, storing, supplying, and transporting water. But now this achievement has produced a wicked tangle of problems.

The extraordinary achievement of modern California — the transformation of a semi-arid region into an abundant and prosperous place — has produced a wicked tangle of problems.




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David Heymann

David Heymann is a columnist for Places. He is an architect, and the Harwell Hamilton Harris Regents Professor in Architecture at the University of Texas, Austin.

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Aaron Rothman

Aaron Rothman is the photo editor of Places, and an artist and writer whose work explores contemporary issues in landscape.

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Naomi Stead

Naomi Stead is a columnist for Places. She is an architecture critic and senior research fellow at the University of Queensland, Australia.

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Shannon Mattern

Shannon Mattern is a columnist for Places. She is Associate Professor in the School of Media Studies at The New School in New York.

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