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Colorado River Aqueduct at 75: The project that fed SoCal's growth




1933 Colorado River Aqueduct start of work celebration in Cabazon, CA.
1933 Colorado River Aqueduct start of work celebration in Cabazon, CA.
Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

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Seventy-five years ago today, water from the Colorado River reached Southern California for the first time.

It came via the Colorado River Aqueduct— a massive feat of engineering that took 35 thousand workers more than eight years to build.

A map of the Aqueduct route from the Colorado River to the Coastal Plain of Southern California and the thirteen cities.
A map of the Aqueduct route from the Colorado River to the Coastal Plain of Southern California and the thirteen cities.
Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

Before the Colorado River Aqueduct was built, Southern California was got its water from the Los Angeles Aqueduct, which was completed in 1913.

But less than a decade after water began to flow from that first aqueduct, it was clear that the rapidly expanding Southern California region was in need of a new source of outside water.

Enter the Colorado River.

This 1938 film from the Metropolitan Water District tells the story of the construction of the Colorado River Aqueduct. 
 
The 242-mile aqueduct made its first deliveries to the thirteen cities that originally made up the Metropolitan Water District. Pasadena received the very first flow of water on June 17, 1941.
 
The aqueduct helped feed the growth of Southern California and today remains as an essential source of water for the region.
 

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