Water Works


Documenting Water History in Los Angeles

The monumental completion of the Los Angeles Aqueduct in 1913 secured the City of Los Angeles  as an oasis for opportunity. However, water in this arid region came with great costs, determination, contestation and labor, which sharply contrasted with the vision of prosperity it provided.  Selected from six archival collections, this database offers unique and diverse perspectives into the history of  the municipal water system in Los Angeles during the 20th century.


About the Database

Documents in this database were selected, in part, for their ability to contribute to a comprehensive view of the history of the Los Angeles Aqueduct and waterworks. This includes (but is not  limited to) its conception, design, funding, planning, construction, use, maintenance and effects on the public, public works, environment, organizations and communities in so far as these are represented in and by the above collections.


This digital collection was made possible by the generous support of Metabolic Studio.

Related resources are available at the LA Aqueduct Digital Platform.

Production Staff:

Kimberly Thomas - selection, scanning and description

Alexander Kratofil - selection, scanning and description

Nancy Steinmann - scanning and description

Cindy Holsey - selection, scanning, description and accessibility


To view physical materials from these collections, search the Oviatt Library Finding Aids Database and/or contact the Oviatt Library Special Collections and Archives.