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A Younger Member's Perspective: LA Centennial Celebrations

    Celebrating an ASCE Historic Landmark & Civil Engineering Accomplishments

    By Andrea Gonzalez, E.I.T. A.M. ASCE

    Edited By Serge Haddad, P.E., M. ASCE and Jinny Huang, P.E., M. ASCE

    LA Aquaduct TourASCE Los Angeles Younger Member Forum (LA YMF) and the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (LADWP) recently celebrated two centennial anniversaries of the ASCE Los Angeles Section and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) Los Angeles Aqueduct (LAA).  As part of this celebration, LADWP and LA YMF organizers offered an exclusive tour to ASCE members and interested LA residents of the facilities along LAA.  The LAA was designed and built by self-taught civil engineer and 3rd LA Section ASCE President William Mulholland.  The tour was a full three-day weekend event (Friday September 6- Sunday, September 8) where approximately 50 participants began the exciting venture at the LADWP Filtration Plant in Sylmar and traveled over 600 miles and visited over 30 sites.

    LADWP tour guides, Chris Plakos and Charles Parkes, provided valuable information throughout the tour about the life of William Mulholland, history and geology of the Owens Valley and Eastern Sierra, and major system facilities that serve the Los Angeles Aqueduct.  Major facilities pertinent to the City of Los Angeles’ water and power supply system that were part of the tour included the LADWP Filtration Plant, Haiwee Power Plant, Lee Vining Creek LA Aqueduct Intake, Middle Gorge Power Plant, Los Angeles Aqueduct Intake, and Upper and Lower Owens River. 

    LA Aquaduct Tour 2The LAA Tour also included a trip to the ancient Mono Lake—one of the oldest lakes in North America to explore its surroundings as well as learn of its exotic tufa towers, spires composed of calcium carbonate, as well as several visitor centers, the Manzanar National Historic Site, and a fish hatchery.  The LAA Tour included accommodations in Bishop and Mammoth, where participants discussed what was seen and learned that day over dinner. On the last day of the tour, the group visited the Los Angeles Aqueduct Intake, the historical site where the LAA was revealed a hundred years ago.  The tour also stopped to visit the riveted steel pipe at Jawbone Canyon, and lastly, the Cascades where both the LAA terminates, and water is released to supply water to Los Angeles.

    LA Aquaduct Tour 3The LAA Tour was a great success for LA YMF and LADWP, with participants sharing this unique experience, learning about the history of one of LA’s major water supply, and reconnecting with old or building new connections.  This tour was a fun and memorable experience and would not have been possible without members from ASCE LA YMF and LADWP —special thanks to those key individuals who made this trip a reality.

    Information of the LA Aqueduct 100th Anniversary can be found at  Pictures taken by our the LA YMF Historian, Paul Choy, can be viewed on the LA YMF website.