DWP - Name Change Chronology

There has been some confusion regarding the various name changes the LA Department of Water and Power (DWP) has seen from the day the utility was created. In 1902, Los Angeles formed its first municipal water utility and named it the Water Department. Nine years later the Bureau of Power and Light came along. A total of six different names have been used to refer to the two separate water and power organizations since that time. Not until 1937 did both organizations merge and become the Department of Water and Power. The following timeline takes us through the various name changes since 1902.


DWP Historical Timeline

1902 - The City of Los Angeles regains control of its water system. By ordinance the city council establishes the Water Department and the Board of Water Commissioners.

1906 - The Board of Water Commissioners creates the Bureau of Los Angeles Aqueduct. They appoint William Mulholland as Chief Engineer.

1909 - The Bureau of Los Angeles Aqueduct Power is created to build hydro power plants along the Los Angeles Aqueduct. Ezra F. Scattergood is selected as the Bureau’s first chief electrical engineer.

1911 – The Department of Public Service and the Public Service Commission are created through an approved charter amendment.

1911 - The Bureau of Power and Light is created within the Department of Public Service to oversee and administer the electrical system in the city.

1911 - The Water Department is renamed the Bureau of Water Works and Supply after the creation of a municipal department in charge of electricity (Bureau of Power and Light).

1937 - The Bureau of Water Works and Supply consolidates with the Bureau of Power and Light and becomes the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP).

Note: For more detailed information regarding the development of the specific organizations mentioned above please refer to the 'Historical Timeline' section at either of the following links: POWER or WATER.



Flow Chart showing Name Change Chronology of DWP from its inception as the Water Department in 1902 to Present. (Note: LA City Water Co. responded with litigations which dragged the takeover process for almost four years past the expiration date of the lease.)  


Historical Notes

The three significant events that prompted a name change for the Los Angeles municipal utility are:
(1902) – City of Los Angeles regains control of its water system.
(1907) – Construction begins on the Los Angeles Aqueduct, completed in 1913.
(1936) – Los Angeles gets its first electricity from Hoover Dam.



Click HERE to see more in First Electricity in Los Angeles.



Click HERE to see more in Water in Early Los Angeles.




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