This silent film from 1913 shows the opening of the Los Angeles Aqueduct system, a "stupendous undertaking" as a title card describes it. Chief Engineer William Mulholland is shown at 1:38, and again at 3:14 when the gates of the aqueduct are first opened. At 6:40 the San Fernando Reservoir is shown. The aqueduct project began in 1905 when the voters of Los Angeles approved a US$1.5 million bond for the 'purchase of lands and water and the inauguration of work on the aqueduct'. On June 12, 1907 a second bond was passed with a budget of US$24.5 million to fund construction. Construction began in 1908 and was divided into eleven divisions and a cement plant. The number of men who were on the payroll the first year was 2,629 and this number peaked at 6,060 in May 1909. In 1910, employment dropped to 1,150 due to financial reasons but rebounded later in the year. Between 1911 and 1912 employment ranged from 2,800 to 3,800 workers. The number of laborers working on the aqueduct at its peak was 3,900. In 1913 the City of Los Angeles completed construction of the first Los Angeles Aqueduct. The aqueduct as originally constructed consisted of six storage reservoirs and 215 mi (346 km) of conduit. Beginning three and one half miles north of Black Rock Springs, the aqueduct diverts the Owens River into an unlined canal to begin its 233 mi (375 km) journey south to the Lower San Fernando Reservoir. This reservoir was later renamed the Lower Van Norman Reservoir.
The system currently comprising the Los Angeles Aqueduct (Owens Valley aqueduct) and the Second Los Angeles Aqueduct, is a water conveyance system, built and operated by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. The Owens Valley aqueduct was designed and built by the city's water department, at the time named The Bureau of Los Angeles Aqueduct, under the supervision of the department's Chief Engineer William Mulholland. The system delivers water from the Owens River in the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains to Los Angeles, California. In 1971 it was recognized by the American Society of Civil Engineers on the List of Historic Civil Engineering Landmarks.
Its construction was controversial from the start, as water diversions to Los Angeles all but ended agriculture in the Owens Valley.Since then, its continued operation has led to public debate, legislation, and court battles over the environmental impacts of the aqueduct on Mono Lake and other ecosystems.
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This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD, 2k and 4k. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com