SYLMAR (CBSLA.com) — Mayor Eric Garcetti and other city officials took part in a reenactment ceremony to mark the anniversary Los Angeles’ first aqueduct on Tuesday.
The centennial celebration of the Los Angeles Aqueduct Cascades at 17001 Foothill Blvd. took place at about 12 p.m.
Officials with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) reenacted the exact day and time on Nov. 5, 1913, when water began flowing from the Eastern Sierras and Owens Valley through the First Los Angeles Aqueduct Cascades. At the time, the city’s population was 300,000 and drought cycles vexed civic leaders eager for Los Angeles to grow.
The event was capped off with LADWP employees opening the Cascades gates, sending a torrent of water down the open-air channel just as it did a century ago, forever altering Southern California and the region at large.
Constructed over five years at a cost of $23 million, the first Los Angeles Aqueduct — which was designed to deliver water entirely by gravity, requiring no power for the pumping of water along the route — spanned more than 230 miles and serviced the Greater Los Angeles area before a second aqueduct was built in 1970.
“By 1920 we had grown from 300,000 to 800,000 residents,” Garcetti said. “Think about that. In a decade, half a million people moving here because of what this aqueduct was able to do.”
Cal State L.A. history professor Mark Wild told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO the topic of water distribution in Southern California has been political from the very beginning.