Early Water Engineering and Staff

(Early 1900s)* - Original Office Force of the Water Department.  




(Early 1900s)* - William Mulholland and Staff  




(1951)* - Group of surveyors at work measuring snow levels in the High Sierras.  


From LADWP's Historical Archives

Estimated runoff of the High Sierra snow pack for this year (1951) will be 57 percent of the long-range average; it was disclosed in a recent report by Harold N. Shepard, Hydrologic section, to Burton S. Grant, Chief Engineer of Water Works.

The estimate was based upon snow surveys completed early in April 1951 and thus does not reflect the added runoff which will result from a rather heavy rain and snow storm the last days of the month. There also is the possibility that further storms may increase the anticipated runoff. In any event, there will be sufficient water to keep the Aqueduct operating at full capacity, stated Mr. Grant.

Although spring has come to Los Angeles, most of the city’s summer water supply still is in “cold storage” in the High Sierra. Heavy runoff will not occur until June and July. Runoff predictions are based upon data supplied by a crew of 10 hydrographers headed by George A. Lewis, which works out of the Independence headquarters.
Each year the men survey the same 12 courses which have been measured since 1926. Snow samples are taken at elevations varying from 8,300 to 11,000 feet. Something new was added in the snow survey equipment line this year with the purchase of a Tucker Sno-Cat.

In keeping with the Department’s policy of staying abreast of current improvements in facilities, the recent acquisition of the Tucker Sno-Cat has provided mechanical transportation to snow survey courses heretofore accessible only by use of skis. This modern machine is designed for cross-country travel over deeply covered roads, side slopes and grades up to 65 per cent. It has proved itself a boon to the hydrographer, who must penetrate far back into secluded areas to obtain information on snowfall and runoff. In addition to its use as a means of transportation for snow surveyors, it will be operated during seasons of excessive snowfall to carry hydrographers to many isolated measuring stations within the watershed which formerly were visited only on skis.^



(1951)* - Gauging tower for recording rainfall.  




(1951)* - Hydrologist team taking snow measurements to determine anticipated water runoff from the High Sierras.  




(Date unknown)* - Water Design Division drafting room at 2nd Street Building.  




References and Credits

* DWP - LA Public Library Image Archive

^ LADWP Historic Archive


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