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 quickly see what we're up to is to visit our quarterly Newsletters page and check out the items of interest to you. The latest newsletter has its own link just below.


Click HERE to see the July 2018 Newsletter


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Monthly Meeting


The Water and Power Associates Board Meeting is held on the second Wednesday of every month at Taix Restaurant at 1911 Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles.  The lunch meeting convenes at 11:20 a.m. and runs to about 1:15 p.m.

We are now opening up this meeting to the public to give those that are interested an opportunity to learn more about recent water and energy issues affecting Los Angeles and Southern California…and about some of our other efforts such as opening a new brick-and-mortar museum on Olvera Street. 

Our guest speaker for the Board meeting on Wednesday, September 12, will be Mike Webster, Executive Director, Southern California Public Power Authority (SCPPA).   His topic will be “Regional Power Issues”.

Space is limited, so please R.S.V.P by contacting Richard West at rawest@me.com.


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The Delta Water Fix - A Key to Water Reliability, Sustainability

The City of Los Angeles has grown to a metropolis of over four million people, due in large part to the availability of a safe and reliable supply of water. However, providing this supply took a tremendous amount of foresight, planning, and investment. Over 80 percent of the City’s water supplies originate from sources hundreds of miles away—about 54% from the State Water Project via the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta, 20% from the Eastern Sierra via the Los Angeles Aqueduct and 10% from the Metropolitan Water District’s Colorado River Aqueduct, The remaining 16 percent of the total supply comes from local groundwater and recycled water.

Although the City’s population and economy have steadily grown, the sources of water have remained the same. Consequently, one of the greatest challenges facing the City is providing a reliable water supply while balancing a variety interests, including its commitment to protect and preserve the environment. This balancing act includes planning for the effects of climate change, mitigating against the risk of earthquakes, making proactive investments in local supplies, increasing water-use efficiency, and striving to keep water rates affordable...


Click HERE to read more.


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Historical Record Committee Update

The development of a Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) Historical Exhibit in the Hammel Building on Olvera Street was approved on August 4th 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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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




Recent Museum Additions

Our most recent addition, Historical LADWP Facts & Figures, includes a chronological listing of significant events in the Department's History.


Also, to supplement our Early Views of the San Fernando Valley Section, we've added two new sections titled: SFV Street Name Origins and SFV Communities Name Origins


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


Finally, check out six of our more recent Virtual Museum Sections:




New Search Index

A new SEARCH INDEX has been added to help navigate through the thousands of images in our collection. Try it out for a test run.


Click HERE for Search Index




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



Special Collections

In our Virtual Museum Section, we now offer 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.





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




Have Something 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.



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.