Los Angeles Water Time Line


On the exploration from San Diego to Monterey, Gaspar de Portola discovered and named the Rio Porciuncula. He recognized it as ideal for settlement because of the ample water supply.


The primitive water system for Los Angeles was large enough to become a city department. This department became the Los Angeles City Water Company.

William Mulholand surveys the scene.


William Mulholland, the man who would shape the city of Los Angeles came to work for the Los Angeles City Water Company.


Mr. Mulholland at age 31 became superintendent of the company.


The first water meter was installed at Mulholland's instigation.


The city of Los Angeles purchased the Los Angeles City Water Company for 2 million dollars.


Mulholland and J.B. Lippincott teamed up, they knew the city needed water and the only way to get it was from the Owens River.


After all the planning, in March Fred Eaton went to the Owens Valley to buy land options and water rights.


Los Angeles had the law which would permit the Owens River to reach Los Angeles.


Voters of Los Angeles gave their overwhelming endorsement to the project, approving a 23 million dollar bond issue for the construction of the California aqueduct.

The south end of the Jawbone Siphon, an 8,095 foot steel pressure siphon.


A carnival atmosphere prevailed for the dedication ceremonies at the "Cascades" on November 5th. The aqueduct was finally up and running.

The dedication ceremony at the Cascades, November 5, 1913.


This year the Summary of all the work appeared, it was known as the "Complete Report". It stated the total of deaths which was 43, and 1,282 accidents.

Men at the gatehouse open the gate valves to release the Owens River water.


Five important aqueducts were built which were: Tinemaha on the Owens River, Upper San Fernando (Van Norman), Stone Canyon, Encino, and Hollywood.


By spring once again both Los Angeles and the Owens Valley were facing severe water shortages. The residents of the Owens Valley blamed this trouble on the aqueduct for stealing their water. They decided they had to bring water from the Colorado River.


The first violence of the dispute erupted against the aqueduct. Forty men dynamited the Lone Pine aqueduct spillway gate. This same year Mark Watterson led 60 to 100 people to occupy the Alabama Gates, closing the aqueduct.


The Department of Water and Power (DWP) was established and the voters of Los Angeles approved a 2 million dollar bond for the Colorado River Aqueduct.

The Haiwee reservoir had the capacity of 63,800 acre feet, or enough water to run the original aqueduct at full capacity for 80 days.



Between 1926 and 1927 there had been 10 instances of dynamiting to the aqueduct. The people of northern Californians, were totally against the aqueduct because they stated it was being stolen from them.


William Mulholland left the DWP, shaken by the tragedy of the St. Francis Dam, 40 miles north Los Angeles. On March 12th of that year, Mulholland inspected the dam, the construction of which he had supervised. Hours later it collapsed, killing 450 people in the ensuing flood. He accepted full responsibility and resigned. Also in this same year the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California was created.


The Famous Hoover Dam was completed. Also this year the death of the man that made Los Angeles what it is today, William Mulholand.


The DWP established a wildlife management staff including wildlife biologists and vegetation specialist.

McNally Ponds


"Sharing The Vision The Story of the Los Angeles Aqueduct", a book from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. All photographs are inserted from this book.

Web page Creator:

Michael Aguilar