Encinitas couple create interactive tale of battle for Los Angeles water rights


By Kristina Houck

“There it is. Take it.”

Los Angeles water department head William Mulholland reportedly said these famous words at the Nov. 5, 1913 opening ceremony of the city’s aqueduct, the 223-mile-long engineering feat he spearheaded.

City officials marked the centennial of the completion last year, where Encinitas author Rebecca Carrer celebrated the occasion with the release of her book, “Rain Shadow.”

“I took a lot of things that happened — and it was complicated — and wove it together, in a way that, I think, is a really good story,” Carrer said.

“Rain Shadow” follows the conflict over the aqueduct bringing water from the Owens Valley to the city. Although rooted in reality, Carrer’s self-published novel is told through the eyes of a fictional reporter.

“Usually the story is told in a pretty polemic way,” Carrer said. “There was controversy and bitterness because Los Angeles, essentially, went up and bought water rights and land rights in Owens Valley, and there was a lot of feeling that they were very sneaky about it and misled people about what they were doing.”

In addition to her unique way of telling the story, Carrer decided to “show” the story through an interactive book.

A finalist in the 2014 Digital Book Awards, “Rain Shadow” incorporates more than 70 pop-ups with background information and historical photos, as well as a clickable map.

Carrer’s husband, Laurent Carrer, composed a soundtrack to accompany certain chapters and passages in the book. The music was recorded at Encinitas-based SpragueLand, with local musician Peter Sprague playing on several of the tracks.

“To me, it enriches the experience of an historical novel,” said Carrer, who noted there are interactive children’s and self-help books, but few interactive adult fiction novels. “I think it’s a pioneering book.”

Although she has worked as a commercial writer for about three decades, “Rain Shadow” is Carrer’s first book. She was inspired to write about the history of the aqueduct after watching the four-part documentary series “Cadillac Desert: Water and the Transformation of Nature.”

Married for 23 years, Carrer and her husband have lived in Encinitas since 1999.

“Rain Shadow” is available in print on Amazon. An e-version of the book is also available from Amazon and iTunes.

For information or to purchase the book, visit