Construction Gallery

CRA Construction

The Colorado River Aqueduct is an engineering marvel of the 20th century which imports water from the Colorado River to Southern California. Constructed between 1933 and 1941, it spans 242 miles and encompasses an open aqueduct, siphons , five pumping plants, reservoirs, and 16-foot -wide tunnels which vary in length from 338 feet to 18.3 miles. Its most easily visible feature is its open canal, which crosses California above ground at intervals from its start at the W.P. Whitsett Intake Pumping Plant on the Colorado River. These photos from construction during the 1930s show the canal in various phases of construction - from excavation, reinforcement, and concrete paving, to finished sections without water - and finally filled with the Colorado River water on its way to Lake Mathews Reservoir, the terminus of its long route westward.