1915 Impact of LAA on Owens Lake Soda Industry

After the 1916 Complete Report on the Construction of the LA Aqueduct, Charles Lee’s 1915 Report on Hydrology of Owens Lake Basin & the Natural Soda Ash Industry as Affected by the Los Angeles Aqueduct Diversion [17mb pdf] is required reading for any scholar of Owens Lake and the Los Angeles Aqueduct. While the scan by UC Riverside is missing the plates, there is a rich trove of data about existing conditions and predictions of future impacts!

Figure 8 is the smoking gun that William Mulholland knew as early as 1915 that the Aqueduct would desiccate Owens Lake. This prediction turned out to be true, when in 1928

OL Shrinkage Rate  (Lee 1915 Report on OL Soda Industry impacts of LAA)

Charles Lee, the author of this report is an interesting player in the creation of the LAA. He was working for the USGS as a hydrologist in the early 1900s and produced some of the best bathymetry of Owens Lake before striking out on his own. Looking forward to visiting his archives at UC Riverside when I can.

owensbig

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