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On the LA Aqueduct's (and Four Million Angelenos') Debt to Teddy Roosevelt

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Say what you want about the tendency of the federal government to overreach, but sometimes you need to carry a big stick to get water flowing. Case in point: the Act of Congress of June 30, 1906, which provided the land necessary to build the Los Angeles Aqueduct. According to the anecdote related by the most recent installation of KCET's "Laws that Shaped LA" column, the Act of Congress, signed by one President Teddy Roosevelt, granted Los Angeles "all necessary rights of way, not to exceed two hundred and fifty feet in width, over and through the public lands of the United States in the Counties of Inyo, Kern and Los Angeles," for the aqueduct connecting LA to the Owens Valley. Without that water supply, sourced some 250 miles to the north and east of the city, LA wouldn't grow from its 1906 population of 400,000 to its current tally of four million souls. According to the 1907 Annual Report of the Bureau of the Los Angeles Aqueduct to the Board of the Public Works, the vast expanses of land that made the aqueduct possible included: "certain public lands in California...over and through the Sierra Forest Reserve, the Santa Barbara Forest Reserve, and the San Gabriel Timber Land Reserve, California, to the City of Los Angeles, California."
In case you forgot to mark your calendars, 2013 marks the year of the Los Angeles Aqueduct's centennial, so Angelenos should expect lots of celebrations (and debates?) of the merits of the city's watershed infrastructural accomplishment in the coming year (for example, see this water wheel proposal for the LA River from Metabolic Studio). And if, for sake of comparison, you're interested in what it takes to get large-scale water infrastructure projects built in today's world, reference the state's plans to build "peripheral canals" around the Bay Delta in Northern California—another of LA's (and the rest of Southern California's) primary supplies of water. Image from the DWP - LA Public Library Image Archive via Water and Power Associates
· Teddy Roosevelt's Signature Let Los Angeles Grow [KCET]
· LA River Getting Arty/Functional Water Wheel Near Cornfield [Curbed LA]
· Gov Proposes Huge Underground Tunnels to Move Water North to South in California [Curbed LA]