Eleven students in their final year of the Master’s in Landscape Architecture + Urbanism program set out to retrieve, document, and analyze (a portion of) the world’s traditional water systems. The first goal was to study how these systems functioned physically, how they operated socially, and how they organized landscapes and societies spatially. The second was to imagine new variations of these old systems and test them on the urban landscapes of water-stressed Los Angeles. The premise? By building a richer, more robust lexicon of pre-carbon drylands design systems, we might build capacity, in ourselves and others, for inspired design vision in a post-carbon world.