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1913-2013: Los Angeles Aqueduct centennial

August 16th, 2013 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist

On November 5, 1913, the Los Angeles Aqueduct delivered Owens Valley water to Los Angeles for the first time. This year, the City of Los Angeles marks the hundredth anniversary of its engineering marvel with celebrations, websites, exhibits, a centennial garden, and even a hundred mules walking on the aqueduct.

Construction of the Los Angeles Aqueduct in the Eastern Sierra, early 1900s. Mono Lake Committee archive photo.

1936 photographs of the site where Grant Dam was built on Rush Creek during the early phases of construction. This dam allowed 3.5 million acre-feet of water to be exported from the Mono Basin to L.A. over the last 72 years.

1936 photographs of the site where Grant Dam was built on Rush Creek during the early phases of construction. This dam allowed 3.5 million acre-feet of water to be exported from the Mono Basin to LA over the last 72 years.

 

Although the purchase of land in the Mono Basin for water rights began in 1912, export of water from the Mono Basin into the LA Aqueduct didn’t begin until 1941. The Committee has prepared a centennial fact sheet that compares the Mono Basin extension to the original aqueduct, the second LA Aqueduct, and the other sources of the city’s water supply.

When the aqueduct was built, it was designed to take as much water as possible from the Eastern Sierra. Since then, the purpose of the aqueduct has changed: it now must maintain minimum streamflows in creeks and rivers, provide for environmental enhancement and restoration, and take only the water that is permitted. In the Mono Basin, DWP has been upgrading its Depression-era facilities in order to meet the new purposes of the aqueduct. A Lee Vining Creek facility was upgraded in 2005, and one Rush Creek facility was upgraded in 2009. More work remains to be done in order to deliver the necessary streamflows to the creeks.

In addition to upgrading its infrastructure, DWP has the opportunity to upgrade its commitment to the Eastern Sierra environment. Recent monitoring failures, compliance violations, and contracting problems in the Mono Basin can be avoided in the future as long as DWP wisely chooses a cooperative path forward, and leaves behind the conflict-laden path of the last 100 years.


7 Responses to “1913-2013: Los Angeles Aqueduct centennial”

  1. avatar Blog round-up: Blogger on the BDCP’s economic analysis, the water bond, shortage on the Colorado River, drought, and more! » MAVEN'S NOTEBOOK | MAVEN'S NOTEBOOK Says:

    […] Preparations underway for the upcoming LA Aqueduct Centennial:  This November marks the 100th year of completion of the Los Angeles Aqueduct, which will be marked by a variety of events, including exhibits, a centennial garden, and even a hundred mules walking on the aqueduct.  The Mono Lake Committee is preparing as well:  ” … Although the purchase of land in the Mono Basin for water rights began in 1912, export of water from the Mono Basin into the LA Aqueduct didn’t begin until 1941. The Committee has prepared a centennial fact sheet that compares the Mono Basin extension to the original aqueduct, the second LA Aqueduct, and the other sources of the city’s water supply. … ” Read more from the Mono-Logue blog here:  1913-2013: Los Angeles Aqueduct centennial […]

  2. avatar Scott Cameron Says:

    The mules did not walk “on” the pipeline, they worked alongside the pipeline.

  3. avatar Bob bell Says:

    Tough to join in any celebration of the environmental ripoff, questionable acquiring of water rights, and discusting resulting air quality that resulted from their growth due to taking water from others, and they continue to wheel and deal to get more water from other state sources.

  4. avatar Bob Avakian Says:

    100 years anniversary? Be a great time to shut the darn thing down, eh? At least the part that affects Mono!

  5. avatar denise brown Says:

    Hi Bob,

    My great great grandparents Frank and Mary Filosena had a ranch in mono lake, that my great grandmother Mary Donnelly had inherited, if you have any information or pictures of that time would love to have information or pictures doing ancestry and would love to have anything out there that isn’t part of the family history, I believe the land was sold to the water company somewhere between 1931- 1936, the ranch house is still there…thanks so much denise brown.

  6. avatar Elin, Communications Coordinator Says:

    Bob Bell and Bob Avakian … have you heard the great news? DWP has lots of chances to do things better in the LA Aqueduct’s second century, starting with a groundbreaking new agreement for Mono Basin stream restoration. We’re really exciting about it—it will make a huge difference for Mono Lake’s creeks: http://www.monolake.org/today/2013/08/24/groundbreaking-agreement-gives-los-angeles-aqueduct-new-purpose-healing-streams/

  7. avatar Britt Says:

    One hundred years, WOW! Thanks to everyone involved with the Mono Lake Committee. This constant challenge of working with and unfortunately many times against the Los Angeles DWP has been met with rich success for all of us who love and enjoy the Mono Basin. I’m hoping the next hundred years returns Mono Lake to even greater glory.