Our goal is to provide a solid source of objective information on water and energy issues facing Southern California and the West; to preserve the regional history of water and electricity and show its role in the development and growth of the city of Los Angeles; to disseminate knowledge of the rich and diverse multicultural history of the greater Los Angeles area; and also to assist in the preservation of the city's historic records.

Because The Associates is an independent, membership-funded corporation, we are able to inform you, the public, about critical water and electric issues without constraints.  Consequently, our members’ expertise is routinely sought by local and state officials, Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, historians, authors, film makers, and many others as an informed, reliable resource.

The best way to see what we’re up to is to visit our Newsletter Section or click on the link below to see our most current Quarterly Newsletter.


Current Newsletter


Below is a link to the October 2021 on-line Water and Power Associates Newsletter. This issue covers Water and Energy issues which affect our everyday lives here in Southern California.


Read about:


◆ IPP’s Future Green Energy Hub

◆ LA100: LA City Council Approves Target Date of 2035

◆ Memorial Tribute to Tom McCarthy

◆ The Drought of 2021

◆ Going Back to the All-Electric House – Does it Make Sense?

◆ Olvera Street Water Exhibit Update

◆ Energy and Water Issues Buzz

◆ Water Shortage Declared on Colorado River

◆ Guest Speaker Talk Summary: Pasadena’s Approach to Green Power Issues

◆ Mystery History article directly from our Virtual Museum



Click HERE to see the October 2021 Newsletter


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Monthly Meetings and Upcoming Events


The Water and Power Associates (W&PA) Zoom Board Meetings are held on the second Wednesday of every month from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. All W&PA members and their guest are invited to attend. Please R.S.V.P. by contacting us at: webmaster@waterandpower.org

Board Meeting Schedule and Guest Speakers

◆ December 8, 2021


In-person meeting at Taix Restaurant

Topic: Water and Power Initiatives

Please R.S.V.P. by contacting Jack Feldman at: webmaster@waterandpower.org

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Water Museum Updates

August 18, 2020:  Representatives from LADWP, Water and Power Associates, El Pueblo and the Natural History Museum met for a planning session on the future Water Exhibit (Museum) on Olvera Street.  The Natural History Museum, because of their expertise, will be working on the displays that will be housed in the Hammel Building on Olvera Street.  The meeting generated some great ideas about what stories the exhibition could tell.  Several more meetings will be required before the displays can be finalized….it’s a long process.



Museum Concept




New Historical Water Exhibit on Olvera Street

The development of a Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) Historical Exhibit in the Hammel Building on Olvera Street has been approved by the Commissioners of LADWP and the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Monument Department (El Pueblo).

This new Exhibit will include the relocation of the existing History of Water Exhibit (which has been closed because it was not accessible to people with disabilities), expanded exhibits highlighting the role of the Department in the founding and development of Los Angeles, and present information on the sustainability efforts being undertaken by LADWP.

The Hammel Building which fronts on Olvera Street and also includes access to North Main Street is particularly suited for this exhibit because it contains an exposed portion of the Zanja Madre (the original water distribution system of Los Angeles).  It also has sufficient space (2,600 sq. ft.) to greatly expand the current displays to cover the historical roles of water and power in the development of the City of Los Angeles, as well as allowing for rotating exhibits focusing on current issues.

The Memorandum of Understanding between the agencies stipulates LADWP will provide up to $195,000 for capital improvements, design, installation, and on-going presentation of exhibits. El Pueblo will be responsible for coordinating the development of the exhibit; providing staffing consistent with all the other museums in El Pueblo; and performing the maintenance and operations of the site once the project is completed.

It is anticipated that the exhibit will open in about a year and that it will last about 10 years before major changes would need to be considered.

The Water and Power Associates will be looking at the possibility of augmenting the staff of Museum through providing docent services for the exhibit (Click HERE for exhibit location).


Gerald A. Gewe
Chair Historical Record Committee

Click HERE for more on the Historical Record Committee


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Featured Virtual Museum Section (Power)



The age of electricity took Los Angeles by storm.  The city’s first experiment with electric lighting consisted of powerful arc lamps—“electric moons” – mounted on seven 150-foot masts throughout what is now downtown.  As L.A.’s population exploded during the 1920s and 1930s, ornamental streetlights—popularly known as electroliers—became de facto real estate advertisements.  Each neighborhood could be identified by the type of streetlights that ran up and down its streets.  Today, with more than 400 different types of lamps scattered over nearly 470 square miles, LA is one of the most diverse streetlight ecosystems anywhere in the country.

The Early Los Angeles Streetlights Section explores the evolution of streetlights from gas lamps to the highly efficient LED’s that we see today.  It also highlights the beautiful streetlight designs that have illuminated this city throughout the last century.

Click HERE to see more.



Featured Virtual Museum Section (Water)


The old Pueblo de Los Angeles relied almost exclusively on the Los Angeles River for its water supply and thus its survival. In the early years water from the river was channeled through a distribution system of crude dams, water wheels and ditches. Los Angeles was incorporated as a municipality on April 4, 1850, but it wasn’t until ten years later that the City, through a lease contract with the LA Water Works Co., completed its first water system. Click HERE to see more in Water in Early Los Angeles.


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Intake Magazine


Intake, the magazine produced for LADWP employees and retirees, is now online and updated every quarter! Visit www.LADWPIntake.com and see the latest stories related to local water and energy issues as well as other current LADWP activities. You can also subscribe to receive a quarterly email highlighting the most recently posted stories.


Click HERE to see the latest quarterly Intake Magazine


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Virtual Museum

Visit our Museum Section and see how Water and Electricity contributed to the development of the City of Los Angeles.


Los Angeles Aqueduct  Opening Day Ceremony    November 5th, 1913


Click HERE to visit our Virtual Museum


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Recent Museum Additions

How much has Los Angeles air quality improved since the 1940s? Find out in our newest section titled: Smog in Early Los Angeles

The Hollywood sign is barely visible through the smog in this photo taken from above Lake Hollywood in Cahuenga Pass.  


Another recent addition to our Virtual Museum, Historical LADWP Facts & Figures, includes a chronological listing of significant events in the Department's History.


Also, check out some of our more recent addtions:


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New Search Index

A new SEARCH INDEX has been added to help navigate through the more than 100 Sections and 20,000 images in our Virtual Museum. Try it out for a test run.


Click HERE for Search Index


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Mystery History

Test your knowledge of Los Angeles History by visiting our Mystery History Section.

View of the 300 block of N. Main Street showing one of Los Angeles’ 1st electric light poles.  It was 150 feet tall and located in front of the St. Charles Hotel. Note the man standing on the platform half way up the street light mast.  


Click HERE to visit our Mystery History Section


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Special Collections

In our Virtual Museum Section, we offer a collection of oral histories covering the growth and development of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) as seen by the participants – its employees.  The collection preserves the stories of distinctive and diverse individuals whose historical experiences have shaped the collective memory of DWP.



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We also have links to special collections, papers and databases that provide unique and diverse perspectives into the history of the municipal water system in Los Angeles during the 20th century.

These collections, hosted by the CSUN Oviatt Digital Library and sponsored by Metabolic Studios, offer researchers insight into the unique history of urban development and the evolution of the municipal water system in Los Angeles. Records in the collections chronicle the roles played by politicians and local politics; private business and industry; civic organizations; and local, state, and federal governmental agencies invested in providing water to the city’s rapidly growing population.



We've added a collection of Commission Reports that highlights significant events in the history of the municipal water and power system in Los Angeles.  Featured are early reports related to the Los Angeles Aqueduct, Owens Valley and the St. Francis Dam disaster.



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Featured Historical Interview

For an insightful perspective on the relationship between Owens Valley and the City of Los Angeles following the construction of the LA Aqueduct as well as the dynamics between early DWP management and City Officials, read the transcripts of a Steve Erie interview with Robert V. Phillips, Chief Engineer and General Manager of DWP, 1972-75 (Both Mr. Phillips and his father knew and worked with William Mulholland and H. A. Van Norman).


Robert Phillips Interview:     Part 1 --- Part 2 --- Part 3


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Have Someting Historical To Share? We Want to Know!

Do you have items to share? We would welcome photos of old buildings, early city views, correspondence, newspapers, early sports teams, and events that pertain to the History of Water and Electricity and/or the History of Los Angeles and Southern California in general. If you would like to retain the originals, we would be happy to scan the items and return them to you.

Take a look in your attics, and think of what you can help us collect for future generations to enjoy! If interested, please contact us at: webmaster@waterandpower.org.


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Help Support Our Cause

Click the Donate button to make a donation via PayPal to the Water and Power Associates, Inc. and support our ongoing endeavors researching, documenting and sharing information about critical water and energy issues, and its history in the development of Southern California.

Note: Water and Power Associates, Inc. is a 501 (c) 4 organization, and donations are deductible to the extent permitted by law.



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