<ul><li>1769-Gaspar de Portola discovered the L.A. area as an ideal site for a settlement, because of it’s close proximity to a river. </li></ul><ul><li>11 families founded El Pueblo de Los Angeles and constructed a dam across the river, which fed irrigation canals in their fields. </li></ul>
<ul><li>1854-The primitive water system was large enough to become a city dept. </li></ul><ul><li>1878-William Mulholland came to work for the L.A. Water Co. He worked his way up and at 31 became superintendent, he oversaw 300 miles of mains, reservoirs, infiltration galleries, and pumping plants. </li></ul><ul><li>1889-The water co. installed it’s first water meter under Mulholland’s supervision. Frederick Eaton was elected mayor of L.A., and appointed his friend, Mulholland as super. Of the newly-created L.A. Department of Water and Power (LADWP). The two men had a vision for L.A. to expand. The only downside was not enough water. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Eaton and Mulholland saw that the Owens Valley 200 miles to the north, had a large amount of runoff from the Sierra Nevada Mts., and a gravity-fed aqueduct could deliver the Owens water to L.A.. Eaton had access to inside information about water rights and bought land as a private citizen, in hopes of selling the land back to L.A. for a large profit. Eaton lobbied Theodore Roosevelt and had the local future irrigation sys. of the Owens Valley canceled, and Mulholland misled the residents by claiming the water would be used by L.A. for domestic use, not irrigation. </li></ul><ul><li>1905-Through purchases, intimidation and bribery L.A. had enough water rights to build the aqueduct. Many Owens residents felt ripped of, getting only $4.00 per acre ft. of water when L.A. was willing to pay more than double that amount. The aqueduct was sold to L.A. as vital to the cities growth, but unknown to the public most of the water would go to the San Fernando Valley, which was not part of L.A., so investor friends of Eaton bought that land on Eaton’s inside information. </li></ul><ul><li>1905-1913-Mulholland directed the construction of the aqueduct, with more than 2,000 workers digging 164 tunnels, the project was 223 miles long. At the opening ceremony, Mulholland said “There it is, take it”. </li></ul>
<ul><li>1924-Water coming into Owens Lake was almost completely diverted, and the lake dried up. The farmers and ranchers rebelled, and a group of armed ranchers seized the Alabama Gates, and dynamited part of the system. But by 1928 L.A. owned 90% of the water in Owens Valley, agriculture in the region was effectively dead. </li></ul>
<ul><li>1928-Mulhollan’s career ended as the St. Francis Dam, which he had designed and built, collapsed, just hours after he had inspected it. 12.5 billions gallons of water rushed into the Santa Clarita Valley, devastating everything in it’s path and killing 450 people. Mulholland took full responsibility for the worst U.S. engineering disaster of the 20 th century, and resigned. He lived the rest of his life as a broken man. </li></ul>
<ul><li>1930-L.A. population required even more water, so the LADPW started buying water rites from the Mono Basin 100 miles to the north of Owens Lake. And extension aqueduct was built. </li></ul><ul><li>Mono Lake served as a vital ecosystem for migratory birds and other wildlife. And the falling water levels threatened to turn the area into a wasteland like Owens. </li></ul><ul><li>1974-David Gaines started a study of the biology of the lake. This study sparked the interest of environmental groups throughout the state. </li></ul><ul><li>1978-The Mono Lake Committee was formed. To protect the lake. </li></ul>
<ul><li>This committee as well as others like The Audubon Society, argued that the diversion violated the public trust doctrine, which states that navigable bodies of water must be managed for the benefit of the people. </li></ul><ul><li>1979- They took their case to the Supreme Court and won, but the case was tied up in the courts for years with more court battles. </li></ul><ul><li>1994- The courts ruled that the LADWP was ordered to release water into Mono Lake to raise the level by 20ft. </li></ul><ul><li>2003-The water level in Mono Lake has risen 9ft. The L.A. Basin made up for lost water through state-funded conservation and recycling projects. </li></ul>
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