LADWP MARKS 100-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF FIRST WATER FLOWS FROM THE EASTERN SIERRA
Event in Independence, California Commemorates Los Angeles Aqueduct Intake Centennial
LOS ANGELES—Today, February 13, 2013, marks the 100 year anniversary of the 1913 first water releases into Los Angeles Aqueduct Intake in the Owens Valley. To mark that milestone, on February 8, 2013 representatives from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and Inyo County joined together in a special event at the Eastern California Museum in Independence, California to commemorate the date 100 years ago when William Mulholland and others opened the four gates of the LA Aqueduct Intake, sending water south to Los Angeles through the LA Aqueduct.
“Today, we stand together with you in a spirit of partnership as we commemorate the Intake Centennial,” said Ronald O. Nichols, General Manager of the LADWP. “The Los Angeles Aqueduct, and what it has meant to Los Angeles and all of Southern California, has a great and powerful legacy. We know that at times, the relationship has been tested. But, I firmly believe that any challenge we face can be solved when all sides come together and commit to working on solutions.”
Joining in the event were Linda Arcularius, Chairperson of the Inyo County Board of Supervisors; honored guest Christine Mulholland, great-granddaughter of William Mulholland; Los Angeles City Councilmember Tom LaBonge; LADWP Commissioners Jonathan Parfrey and Christina Noonan; representatives from the LA-Inyo Standing Committee; Jim McDaniel, LADWP Senior Assistant General Manager-Water, Jim Yannotta, Manager of the Aqueduct, and about 75 guests.
Still an engineering marvel 100 years after its construction, the Los Angeles Aqueduct was conceived by Fred Eaton, who devised how water could flow by gravity alone to Los Angeles, and William Mulholland, who oversaw its construction and is widely viewed as the “Father of the Aqueduct.” The significance of the Aqueduct Intake is that it is positioned at a critical point on the Owens River—15 miles north of Independence and 3,800 feet above sea level—to divert the water flow into a manmade conveyance that uses the consistent drop in elevation to not only deliver it completely by gravity to Los Angeles 233 miles away, but also generate hydroelectric power along the route.
“This is where it all starts—at the Los Angeles Aqueduct Intake. In engineering and to those who understand the impact of major public works, the Intake is the most significant aspect of the Aqueduct,” said Councilmember Tom LaBonge. “Without water, there is no life. Without water, there is no Los Angeles.” LaBonge thanked the people of the Owens Valley for a century of partnership and in working together to address the many local issues that intertwine Inyo County with Los Angeles.
The Intake is recognized by a simple marker etched in one of its concrete walls, “A.D. MCMXI, LOS ANGELES AQUEDUCT INTAKE.” It is relatively unchanged from the day it was dedicated a century ago, and functions in exactly the same manner, something that was remarked upon by McDaniel: “What (the Intake) represents is huge. This amazingly important but unimpressive structure is a symbol of a water system that forever changed the face of Southern California.”
The Los Angeles Aqueduct Intake is the subject of a special exhibit at the Eastern California Museum that includes historic photographs that were unveiled at the event, and that will remain on display throughout 2013.
As Nichols noted, “The LA Aqueduct remains the backbone of our water supply, but we are also working aggressively to expand local water supplies in Los Angeles through greater conservation, stormwater capture, groundwater replenishment, and water recycling.” Because of the many environmental projects the LADWP is implementing in the Owens Valley and Eastern Sierra, the Aqueduct today supplies less than half of Los Angeles’ water supply where once it was between 80-90 percent.
To commemorate the Aqueduct Intake Centennial, a bronze plaque will be placed at the Intake so that future generations will know its significant place in the history of Los Angeles and the State of California. The plaque says, in part, “For the Centennial anniversary of the opening of the Los Angeles Aqueduct Intake, representatives from Los Angeles and Inyo County commemorated that historic event 100 years ago. They dedicated this plaque to a future of cooperative stewardship of the natural resources of the Owens Valley and Eastern Sierra for the benefit of people here and in Los Angeles.”
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