Irrigation on the Bear Valley…

This week I started working on a collection from the A. K. Smiley Public Library. The items that were present here so far consisted mainly of letters that were exchanged between Jas T. Taylor, who was then the engineer in-charge at the Bear Valley Irrigation Company and the various suppliers to the company. Some of the key elements that I noticed in these exchanges were the quick implementation of proposed developments. Due to this, apart from letters, some of the exchanges took place through telegrams where a majority of them had only a day’s difference.
The key companies that I have seen so far were the California Marble and Building Stone Co., Union Lime Co. (which was mainly involved in mining activities) and the Spreckels Bros. Commercial Co. When I did a little research, I found out that the Spreckels Bros. Commercial Co. mainly dealt in establishing a trade between the mainland United States and the Hawaiian Islands. As I begin to work further on the items, I am curious to find out the nature and purpose of these exchanges and what the outcomes were. As we can see, even though the broader topic mainly connects to the Bear Valley Irrigation Company, there were other major companies as mentioned above that also played a key role in the irrigation process.

Understanding the flow of water…

This week, I continued working on the metadata for items from the Willis S. Jones collection. One of the interesting aspects of the items this week was that the discharge measurements were taken from all directions of the flow of water from the Temecula Creek.
Some of the measurements were done using an 80-inch contracted weir for comparative measurement, while the other ones were mainly used for determining the flow of water at a specific point of time.
When I started working on the metadata for more similar items, I found a pattern in which they were measured. Initially, the flotation speed was measured. Then, the flotation speed through specific diversion points and joints were measured. And, finally the weir was used for comparative analysis. This lead to a thorough understanding of the flow of water from the Temecula Creek. Once the measurements were done, based on the efficiency of flow of water, weather conditions and surrounding land, the rates for water supply were decided with approvals from the Los Angeles Water Department. For the approvals, letters were first exchanged between Willis S. Jones and the landowners on the basis of negotiations which were finally sent to the officials at the water department. Due to this thorough process, there was a uniformity that existed leading to minimal errors in distribution of water supply.

Megastorm in Southern California

This week, I had continued working on the metadata for the Willis S. Jones papers. Several of them consisted of water flow measurements and discharge measurements from the Temecula Creek, the Harrison Canyon and dams. The measurements corresponding to the dams had insuffuicient information compared to the measurements on the canyon and the creek. What was surprising was that, in the same week I read news about a rare L.A. storm, termed as the ‘Megastorm’ or ‘Arkstorm’ by experts, which could possibly occur and if it does, would severely damage the Whittier Narrows Dam causing massive flooding. This in turn could affect several cities such as Long Beach, Lakewood, Montebello and so on.
Many weather scientists claim that the reports generated so far under-estimate its effects. That is when I started to understand how important preservation of weather reports are as it could be used later for generating averages and estimates that would aid in determining catastrophic events.

Travelling further in the ‘meta’ world

This week, I continued to work on the metadata on the items left over. I am happy to know that I am nearing completion on one of the boxes, which would lead me to work on some new items from next week.
Another interesting aspect that I came across was when I was working on preparing a tweet for the social media page. I had to do some research on rainfall and water discharge measurements which was the main topic we were planning to address through the tweet. Thus, I had to look out for any interesting items that we thought we could share to the viewers. While looking for items I did come across many rainfall reports that were done in the regions surrounding the Temecula Creek. It ultimately led me to looking at the developments that took place in meteorology. Though some of the technical terms were new to me, I was able to get a broader perspective on what lead to such accurate developments on weather forecasting.


I have to begin by saying that it was indeed a long break away from the Willis S. Jones papers. Traveling back home during the winter holidays was indeed rejuvenating. Coming back to work, I began the first week by continuing my work on the metadata of the items I had scanned and photographed last year.
I am surprised to know there are still new subject terms and locations that seem to arise even after adding many terms from the previous folders. Some of the locations have been modified over the years and a simultaneous research had to be done on them in order to maintain accuracy. One of the items that caught my eye was the Nevada-California electric lines map. It was quite fascinating to see how the planning and construction was done to form an electric line from Churchill County in Nevada to the border of Southern California, ending near San Diego. The following materials that followed were proposals on the rates the electric corporation established along with a mini-book on the rules and regulations of the corporation.

Last Week before the Break!

Being the last week of work for this semester, I was able to work on both photography as well as do metadata. Some of the items had black dots on them and they had to be re-photographed. Apart from that, I continued working on the metadata and I was happy that I was able to upload a majority of the items that I had completed.
Overall, the CLIR-CCEPS fellowship has been a great experience for me so far. I hope to continue next year.

Culmination before Christmas!

The culminating presentation was a new and interesting experience.
One thing that surprised me as a presenter was the type of audience
that was present. Being a Masters candidate, the audiences that I have
presented in front of so far are usually professors or fellow students.
But the audience that was present on that day had consisted of archivists, staff from the special
collections, as well as other people who work in the library and a few general
audience members (that includes students from the Claremont Colleges). I felt the audience was
responsive during my presentation, especially when I was comparing maps
and sharing my knowledge and experience with water wars in Southern India. I was very keen on talking about the movie ‘Chinatown’ (1974) directed by Roman Polanski. While I was doing research for my presentation and forming comparisons between the water wars that existed in Southern India to the one in Southern California, I figured that there was a pattern in the flow of water (from the north to the south) in both the countries, which I also mentioned during my presentation.

The culminating
presentations made by my fellow students were all very intriguing and
informative. I could see that each one of them had a different
perspective on the whole issue of water in California. Rather than
talking about the processes that were involved, which would have brought
a layer of similarity between all the presentations, each of the CLIR
Fellows chose a particular issue from the documents they were
digitizing in the CLIR project and compared it to the work they were
doing in their respective careers while also giving their perspective
on the issue at hand. Additionally, it was very satisfying to
see the audience pose questions towards the end of the program as
this indicated that they actually paid attention to all the
presentations and were able to remember them till the end.

Apart from the presentation, the rest of the week consisted of continuing my ‘meta’ work from the Willis S. Jones Papers. I also look forward to my last week before the winter break. 

Post Thanksgiving..

Post Thanksgiving week started out in a brisk pace, where I began working on certain oversize items, which required to be re-shot. Since the Hasselblad Camera had some functional issues, we had to shift to the Canon-Rebel camera, which required a different setting in order to take pictures indoors. Through the middle of the week, I started working on my culminating presentation. While finding out information for the presentation, an interesting fact that I was able to figure out was that there is no valid biography of Willis S. Jones. Finding out about Willis S. Jones was an eye-opener, which I plan to present during my presentation. 

Through the further end of the week, I continued working on my meta-data on the Willis S. Jones papers. Since, it was a continuation of the determination of water prices for certain regions surrounding the Temecula region, there wasn’t any new information that was particularly interesting. 

Driving to America’s Finest City…

For this Thanksgiving break, I plan to drive to San Diego. During my drive, I would be passing through the cities of Temecula, Wildomar, Lake Elsinore and the Canyon lake. These regions occurred quite frequently in the materials I had digitized the last couple of weeks. The weather conditions (rainfall and precipitation) in these regions played a major role in the negotiation of water prices as well as the supply of water to the people in these regions.
Most of the landowners in these regions negotiated prices on their own, which led to long discussions on finalizing common rates. There was frequent interaction between Willis S. Jones and the landowners through letters describing the weather conditions, negotiating water prices for a particular region, updates on the meetings that would take place between the landowners and so on. Driving through these regions would be really interesting and I am curious to stop by and see how the lands have changed now over the years and how the water supply has changed from the 1920s.

Delving deeper into the ‘meta’ world…

This week I got to learn about all the aspects of digitizing an item using, right from entering the metadata to uploading them into the ‘California Water Documents’ collection. Different types of archival materials required different formatting. While entering the data, I had to read through some of the archival materials in order to find out subject terms, locations, dates, creators and recipients. One of the items that was interesting was the letter from the Los Angeles Weather Bureau Department to Willis S. Jones. It had the weather reports of various regions such as the Riverside County, San Diego County and Lake Elsinore enclosed with it. The reports played a key role in the distribution of water supply to the mentioned regions. This in turn affected the negotiation of the prices associated with these particular regions.