About the project

There It Is—Take It! is a self-guided car audio tour through Owens Valley, California along U.S. Route 395 examining the controversial social, political, and environmental history of the Los Angeles Aqueduct. The tour illuminates various impacts this divisive water conveyance infrastructure has created within the Owens Valley over the last one hundred years of the aqueduct’s existence. Stories of the aqueduct are told from multiple perspectives and viewpoints through the voices of historians, biologists, activists, native speakers, environmentalists, litigators, LADWP employees, and residents from both Los Angeles and the Owens Valley.

Designed as a free, 90-minute audio program, There It Is—Take It! seeks to shed light on the mutual past, present, and possible future of Los Angeles and Owens Valley—centered around its complicated and intertwined water history. The project illuminates the historic physical source of drinking water for the Los Angeles municipality while simultaneously revealing the complex relationship these two seemingly polar regions of California share through an innovative aural program incorporating interviews, field recordings, music, and archival audio that educates the listener while experiencing scenic Owens Valley landscape firsthand along U.S. Route 395. Optionally, the program may be experienced online.

How to experience the tour:

  • Listen to individual audio tracks online by selecting a track to the right. Burn a CD of the entire program (requires two CDs) or download the tour to your mobile device as a podcast to experience while traveling.
  • • Download the PDF audio tour map (1.2 megs) for your travels. The map is best printed on 11 x 17 inch tabloid paper.

How to travel the tour:

There It Is—Take It! is ideally experienced as a 90-minute self-guided car audio tour while traveling through the physical landscape of Owens Valley, California along U.S. Route 395. The tour itself is not location specific, but rather it moves through time illuminating specific issues, events, and histories that have developed over the last one hundred years of the aqueduct’s existence. Geographical points of interest are mapped with GPS coordinates on individual track pages. Suggested detours of interest are also provided on the printed map.


This project was made possible with support from Cal Humanities, an independent non-profit state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. For more information, visit www.calhum.org. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in There It Is—Take It! do not necessarily represent those of the California Council for the Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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