To become the major metropolis it is today, Los Angeles periodically engaged in less than reputable means to secure the water it desperately needed -- particularly for a city built on a semi-arid coastal plain, surrounded by desert on three sides and an ocean on the fourth.

From the freshwater battle to obtain drinking water and irrigation to the saltwater battle regarding the Port of Los Angeles and control over its lucrative trade potential, the city’s history is fraught with “water wars.”

What lessons can we learn from a time, more than 100 years ago, when L.A.’s water was an even more hotly contested commodity than it is today and access to it was associated with class and privilege, as depicted in the iconic film Chinatown?

Join this live discussion, moderated by Alex Cohen, host of Spectrum News 1’s Inside the Issues with Alex Cohen, and bring your questions for:

  • William Deverell, professor of history, spatial sciences and environmental studies at USC Dornsife
  • Geraldine Knatz, USC Dornsife alumna, professor of the practice of policy and engineering at USC Price School of Public Policy and USC Viterbi School of Engineering, and former executive director of the Port of Los Angeles

RSVP for the free virtual event: https://usc.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Q7aoktzNTqS8iNig_ITDVA

Dornsife Dialogues

Join us for stimulating online forums in which leading scholars and distinguished alumni from the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences share new perspectives, research-based findings and fresh insight on timely topics. The free events are open to the entire USC community and general public.


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  • Jennifer Gribben

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