Los Angeles has a weird relationship with water. Most years there isn’t enough rain to support the region’s population, agriculture and industry without importing it from surrounding areas. Some years there really isn’t enough. And some years there’s so much rain that floods are a greater threat than drought.
The region’s flood control system is built around that threat, channeling storm water out to sea as quickly as possible. In many places, rivers are lined with concrete, typically with a narrow channel in the middle to keep it flowing during dry spells and a wider channel to prevent flooding. This stretch of the Los Angeles River in Studio City is a good example:
Other parts of the river are much nicer, even navigable at times, but this stretch really is just a concrete drainage ditch inside a bigger drainage ditch.
Unfortunately what’s needed in flood years ends up hurting us in drought years, sending too much of the rain we do get into the ocean instead of collecting it. In recent years they’ve been testing systems to recharge groundwater reserves, but if drought becomes more common — and indications are that it will — we’re going to need to revamp the system.
Back to the photo: This was taken last weekend at the Los Angeles Walk for Food Allergy. This year’s event took us around the CBS Studios lot past soundstages, streets made to look like different parts of the US, production buildings, prop/set storage, and yes, the river.
The event raises funds for FARE, an organization dedicated to food allergy research, education, awareness and advocacy.
Food allergies can range from mild to life-threatening — yes, people die — and those of us on the far end of the range need to be constantly on the watch for hidden ingredients and cross-contact between foods we can eat and foods we can’t. FARE funds studies to explore the causes of food allergy and develop new therapies. They run outreach programs to make it safer to visit restaurants, or just be at school or the workplace.
Donations are still open if you would like to contribute. There are 15 million people living with food allergies in the US alone, and your contribution can help all of us.