The California water wars were a series of political conflicts between the city of Los Angeles and farmers and ranchers in the Owens Valley of Eastern California over water rights. As Los Angeles expanded during the late 19th century, it began outgrowing its water supply. Fred Eaton, mayor of Los Angeles, realized that water could flow from Owens Valley to Los Angeles via an aqueduct. The aqueduct construction was overseen by William Mulholland and was finished in 1913. The water rights were acquired through political fighting and, as described by one author, "chicanery, subterfuge ... and a strategy of lies".

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  • The California water wars were a series of political conflicts between the city of Los Angeles and farmers and ranchers in the Owens Valley of Eastern California over water rights. As Los Angeles expanded during the late 19th century, it began outgrowing its water supply. Fred Eaton, mayor of Los Angeles, realized that water could flow from Owens Valley to Los Angeles via an aqueduct. The aqueduct construction was overseen by William Mulholland and was finished in 1913. The water rights were acquired through political fighting and, as described by one author, "chicanery, subterfuge ... and a strategy of lies". Since 1913, the Owens River had been diverted to Los Angeles, causing the ruin of the valley's economy. By the 1920s, so much water was diverted from the Owens Valley that agriculture became difficult. This led to the farmers trying to destroy the aqueduct in 1924. Los Angeles prevailed and kept the water flowing. By 1926, Owens Lake at the bottom of Owens Valley was completely dry due to water diversion. The water needs of Los Angeles kept growing. In 1941, Los Angeles diverted water that previously fed Mono Lake, north of Owens Valley, into the aqueduct. Mono Lake's ecosystem for migrating birds was threatened by dropping water levels. Between 1979 and 1994, David Gaines and the Mono Lake Committee engaged in litigation with Los Angeles. The litigation forced Los Angeles to stop diverting water from around Mono Lake, which has started to rise back to a level that can support its ecosystem. (en)
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  • The California water wars were a series of political conflicts between the city of Los Angeles and farmers and ranchers in the Owens Valley of Eastern California over water rights. As Los Angeles expanded during the late 19th century, it began outgrowing its water supply. Fred Eaton, mayor of Los Angeles, realized that water could flow from Owens Valley to Los Angeles via an aqueduct. The aqueduct construction was overseen by William Mulholland and was finished in 1913. The water rights were acquired through political fighting and, as described by one author, "chicanery, subterfuge ... and a strategy of lies". (en)
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  • California water wars (en)
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