Our own Arroyo Seco is part of the watershed for the Los Angeles River, currently encased in concrete thanks to the Army Corps of Engineers' prewar project built in a effort to get stormwater to the ocean as quickly as possible. It is now the County's responsibility to maintain it as a flood channel.
The natural properties of the waterway have been greatly diminished, as the channelization destroyed the harmonics of the river's meandering flow, not to mention the sheer waste of water that would normally percolate into the aquifer along river marshlands. The importance of the river and the watershed in our society, and an awareness and appreciation of it and its natural processes, is central to the idea that it should become a central focus of an integrated process of natural cycles and human infrastructure.
The City of Los Angeles has mounted a huge campaign to restore the river and its natural qualities, and many organizations and nonprofits are participating in the revival of this critical natural feature. Much of the work remaining to be done is not just around the river, but development and building guidelines throughout the region which will retain water upstream and return it to the watershed and tributary rivers instead of turning into polluted stormwater.
Global communities are becoming focused on the incorporation of land contours and water cycle so as to return to the natural process of rivers and hydrology, as well as the local climate and water supplies, per the World Water Forum held in Istanbul, Turkey, in March of this year. It has become a major human rights issue, as well as an ecological and environmental one.