Sophia Borgias is a 2018 recipient of the Climate Assessment for the Southwest (CLIMAS) Climate & Society Graduate Fellows Program.
Title: Rights and resistance: Historical and contemporary struggles for water and sovereignty in Owens Valley, California
Abstract: This research is part of a dissertation project focused on the ongoing water conflicts in Owens Valley, California, a rural area in the Eastern Sierra where the City of Los Angeles owns the majority of private land and water rights and has exported water by way of the Los Angeles Aqueduct since 1913. The project examines how conflicting interests within and outside the watershed are negotiated and reconciled, tracing the respective roles and relationships among the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, government agencies, and local stakeholder groups. The project aims to inform local efforts to improve stakeholder relations as well as to provide information relevant to debates about proposed water transfers in other watersheds. Archival and legal research will be compiled into databases and synthesized into timelines for use in educational and outreach efforts. Participatory workshops planned in collaboration with local groups will explore specific parts of the history presented in these documents and their implications for contemporary struggles for water and sovereignty.