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Film Screening of Chinatown and Panel Discussion on Water Resource Policy Issues facing Southern California

Chinatown is a fictional re-telling of a true story – how Los Angeles acquired rights to the Owens Valley’s water and diverted it to the city, permitting LA to grow and prosper – and for land investors (the water initially sent through the San Fernando Valley) to become wealthy by investing in real estate that would be given plentiful access to water.

While character names, events, and relationships were altered for dramatic effect, the film does a great job of conveying a kind of metaphorical truth: that Los Angeles and other great cities that acquire water rights in less than open or even-handed ways exemplify the power of greed and unbridled impulse in the pursuit of growth and the exploitation of resources.

Date: Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Time: 5:30 – 7:40 p.m. film screening (130 minutes) followed by panel discussion
Location: Calit2 Auditorium, UCI.
Event is free and open to the public. Parking is $10 in the Anteater Parking Structure (Directions).




This event is free and open to the public.
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Join Water UCI after the movie for a panel discussion. Panelists will bring their expertise and perspective to bear on various questions raised by the film, including:

  • How are cities and water drawn together?
  • How is the harnessing of water as much about politics and power as engineering?
  • Who should “control” water – and for what purpose: the general public or only a few beneficiaries?

Panelists include: 

head shot of mr bradley

Timothy J. Bradley, Ph.D.
Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UCI 



head shot of feldman.

David L. Feldman, Ph.D.
Director, Water UCI and Professor of Planning, Policy, and Design, UCI 



huxman_2Travis E. Huxman, Ph.D.
Director, Center for Environmental Biology, Director, UCI Sustainability Initiative, and Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UCI



nicola_ulibarri_v2Nicola Ulibarri, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Planning, Policy, and Design, UCI