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The history of LA water. Municipal Water Uses?  Drinking  Bathing  Household chores  Irrigation  Fire hydrants  Recreation.

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Presentation on theme: "The history of LA water. Municipal Water Uses?  Drinking  Bathing  Household chores  Irrigation  Fire hydrants  Recreation."— Presentation transcript:

1 The history of LA water

2 Municipal Water Uses?  Drinking  Bathing  Household chores  Irrigation  Fire hydrants  Recreation

3 Start in 1874  LA has rights to all water in the Los Angeles River  “If you don’t get the water, you won’t need it”  Increasing water means increasing population and economic growth: social goal  1903, the city takes over control  Board of Water Commissioners  Annexation and increasing water supply  1904, need for augmenting the LA River

4 William Mulholland

5 Fred Eaton

6 Visionaries or Villains  Creativity or Chicanery?  Bring water from the Owens Valley 235 miles to the north  Enterprising or Evil?  Need to collect the water rights  Politicians or Polecats?  Need to convince the public

7 Water Rights  Eaton procured most of the rights in the Valley  Reclamation Service had plans for a local irrigation program (320 acres per farm)  Conflict of interest: Lippincott  All in secrecy  Mulholland procures the rest of the rights  July 29, 1905: TITANTIC PROJECT TO GIVE CITY A RIVER

8 Eaton’s Situation  Sell LA all resources at cost  Hold onto one ranch  What is necessary for a reservoir? Describe the topology of the land  Sold to LA for $450,000 – twice the current value as a ranch.  Now Crowley Lake

9 Mulholland  How the heck do we pay for this?  $25 million (1905)  $1.5M in bonds in 1905 to finish buying the rights  $23M in 1907 for construction  Overwhelming public approval  Scare tactics and growth dreams?  Timing of vote

10 Other Issues  Needs for right-of-ways from Federal Government  Teddy Roosevelt: “The greatest good for the greatest number.”  LA has many more people than the Valley  1906 legislation  Electricity production  Huntington: real estate profits

11 Jeremy Bentham What ought to be the object of the legislator? He ought to assure himself of two things; 1st, that in every case, the incidents which he tries to prevent are really evils; and 2ndly, that if evils, they are greater than those which he employs to prevent them

12 First Pipe  Construction begins in 1908  November 5, 1913 Water arrives  An engineering, political and social marvel

13 The Villains?  Profiteering  San Fernando Valley  Unproven, but  Commissioner was also a syndicate owner  Dates are simply too coincidental  It was known that excess water would become available

14 Owens Valley  Mary Austin  WAR= dynamite  Confrontation  Depopulation  Infracommunity conflict  Loss of economic activity  Death of Owens Lake

15 St. Francis Tragedy  A dam that should not have been built  No outside consultation  KhwA KhwA  Mulholland resigns in disgrace  What is the measure of a life?


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