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March 2013
Subscribe to Your Water – Metropolitan’s E–Newsletter.

LADWP Celebrates Centennial of the Los Angeles Aqueduct

Feb. 15, 1913 - Dedication of the Los Angeles Aqueduct Intake on the Owens River, William Mulholland second from right, as the gates are opened to send water south to Los Angeles 233 miles away by gravity alone.

The Los Angeles City Council has officially declared “2013: Year of the Los Angeles Aqueduct,” joining the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to launch a centennial celebration marking 100 years of continuous operation of William Mulholland’s great engineering achievement, bringing water to Los Angeles from the Owens Valley 233 miles away.

The city proclamation states, “the completion of the Los Angeles Aqueduct 100 years ago is a significant historical event that led to the growth and prosperity of Los Angeles and Southern California, helped spur an economy that today rivals many nations’ and supports a distinct culture synonymous with invention, creativity and entrepreneurship.


Crews used dynamite, pickaxes and shovels to create tunnels such as this one between Haiwee Reservoir and the Mojave Desert.

“The entirely gravity-fed Los Angeles Aqueduct remains one of the engineering marvels of modern times, and to this day continues to supply water through effective and responsible management by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.”

James B. McDaniel, senior assistant general manager of the LADWP Water System, described to the council the department’s plans for the Centennial celebration - called “L.A. Aqueduct Centennial: Our Legacy, Our Future” - and outlined the events, activities and public awareness campaign planned for the year.

The concrete-lined Los Angeles Aqueduct in the Owens Valley remains
open-air as it did 100 years ago.

“The enduring legacy of the Los Angeles Aqueduct is a source of immense pride at LADWP, and its stewardship is what we do unfailingly each and every day,” he said. “On behalf of the men and women who help operate a system that supplies 600 million gallons of drinking water a day, and the countless others who built the aqueduct or worked for the water system in the last century, we thank the council for its recognition and appreciation.”

Also on hand was Christine Mulholland, great-granddaughter of aqueduct engineer William Mulholland, who helped establish the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California in his association as a consultant on the building of the Colorado River Aqueduct.

“Few times in the history of Los Angeles has there been such a reason to celebrate the feats and accomplishments of our ancestors. That the Los Angeles Aqueduct, one of the modern wonders of the world of engineering, continues to bring fresh, clean water to the people of L.A. is a tribute to my great-grandfather, William Mulholland, and all the people who built, and now continue to maintain, the system,” she said.

Dredging in the Owens Valley near Lone Pine, circa 1908, using an electric dredger with energy supplied by hydro plants on Division Creek, west of the Aqueduct Intake, custom-built to power the Aqueduct construction project.

Today, the Los Angeles Aqueduct still provides about half the water for L.A.’s 4 million residents and retains a vital role in the city’s water supply portfolio. LADWP is working hard to expand local water resources through water conservation, recycled water, stormwater capture and groundwater cleanup.

The Los Angeles Aqueduct Centennial will include special activities and events, a public awareness campaign and a celebration on Nov. 5 to mark 100 years to the day when a crowd of 40,000 gathered at the northeast end of the San Fernando Valley to witness the first flow of water down the Cascades and to hear Mulholland’s immortal words: “There it is. Take it.”

This article and all photos were provided by the city of Los Angeles.

Los Angeles City Councilmembers José Huizar and Tom LaBonge present the Council resolution declaring “2013: Year of the Los Angeles Aqueduct” to James B. McDaniel, senior assistant general manager of the LADWP Water System, in the company of Christine Mulholland, great-granddaughter of William Mulholland, and Fred Barker, manager of LADWP Water Transmission Operations and the department’s unofficial resident historian.

This newsletter is produced by:
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
700 N. Alameda St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

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