Thursday, February 24, 2011

Mystery History -- Solved!

Nobody got it exactly right, but Bellis was the first person to name one person in the photo correctly with her 7:55 a.m. Tuesday guess "Mulholland and co. planning to buy up Hahamongna to bring water to LA? (after meeting fierce resistance from the Indiana colony, they headed up to Owens Valley)" so I'm giving her this week's fabulous prize.

Left to right in the 1931 photo above are Franklin E. Weymouth, William Mulholland and W.P Whitsett, and they're actually in the desert*. These three visionaries were responsible for bringing water from northern and central areas of the state to Southern California -- an intricate, expensive and bold move. They predicted that the future growth of Southern California -- Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Ventura counties -- would be tied directly to the capacity to import water from somewhere else.

And they were absolutely right.

Weymouth had been the chief construction engineer with the U.S. Reclamation Service (now called the Bureau of Reclamation) when he joined the team that conceived of the California Aqueduct. He was the first general manager and chief engineer of Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) from 1929 to 1941.

Mulholland was a self-taught engineer who had been responsible for the Los Angeles Aqueduct in 1913, which brought water from the Owens Valley to L.A.

Whitsett served on the board of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and was MWD's first chairman of the board from 1930 to 1947.

Today the California Aqueduct, managed by the California Department of Water Resources, is a series of canals, tunnels and pipelines that transport water from Northern and Central California to Southern California.

What's the significance of this week's Mystery History?

MWD is preparing for a seismic upgrade of its F.E. Weymouth Water Treatment Plant in La Verne (below).

From March 18 to 27 (and possibly longer), Pasadena’s water supply will be cut by 40 percent due to the temporary shutdown of a major regional water pipeline served by the treatment plant.

That's where you come in.

You won't be allowed to do any outdoor watering (with some exceptions) during that 10-day period, so here are some answers to frequently asked questions.

There will be a 7:30 p.m. public hearing at the Pasadena City Council meeting this coming Monday to declare a Level 4 water shortage emergency. The agenda will be posted here by tonight and you'll be able to attend the meeting in person or watch it live on KPAS (channel 3 on Charter in Pasadena and 99 on U-Verse) or via streaming video here (click on the KPAS logo)

We're all in this together!

*First time ever a Mystery History photo was not shot in Pasadena, but this was for a good cause.

Many thanks to MWD and Pasadena Water and Power.


Bellis said...

Ah, the California aqueduct! Always wondered about it - from a plane to San Francisco, you can follow it through the Central Valley. Quite an engineering feat.

Until I started looking up Mulholland's history to see if he'd ever been to Pasadena, I hadn't realized that the Owens Valley water scheme was the brainchild of Fred Eaton, our very own Ben Eaton's handsome son, who hired the young Mulholland. Without Ben Eaton there would have been no Pasadena.

As for the water stoppage - I'm betting we'll have a heat wave during those weeks. Now's the time to buy those rain barrels and fill them with bath water.

Margaret said...

My husband actually guessed that! But I told him it had to be a picture in Pasadena. Now he is shaming me for doubting him.

pasadenapio said...

Bellis, come to our free rainwater harvesting workshop on March 12!

Margaret, sorry I tricked everybody with a photo shot outside of Pasadena. It will be a true rarity of that ever happens again.

altadenahiker said...

margaret would say anything to get her hands on a free lapel pin.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

Margaret. would your husband like my prize? I still haven't claimed it

Anonymous said...

Bellis, get your rain barrels today and you can collect the rain that's coming this weekend!

I have four 55 gallon rain barrels, and they usually overflow during a regular rain. It's possible to daisy chain two or more together if your budget allows. Instead, I use several 35 gallon trash cans as additional collectors.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

do they stack and store during the dry months? I don't live on an estate, and storage can become an issue

Bellis said...

Do they breed mosquitoes in the warmer months? It's the only reason I haven't got some already.

Anonymous said...

The rain barrels I have do not stack, but they look like nice, over-sized terracotta urns. They are a part of the landscaping in the beds around my house. I leave them out all year, because even a little sprinkle of rain collects in the gutter and runs off into the barrels. Plus, I don't use the water in them during the rainy season, it's saved for the dryer months.

Mosquitoes are not a problem in the barrels, because they have a mesh screen on the top. But, they can be a problem in the trashcans. A squirt of dish soap in the water with a swizzle kills them and makes the water inhospitable to them.

After last night's rain, I now have over 200 gallons of water in storage!

pasadenapio said...

You can get all your questions about rain barrells answered at our free rainwater harvesting workshop on March 12!

Jean Spitzer said...

For the mosquitoes, there's also these things called mosquito dunks that keep them from hatching (forms a film on top of the water). We get ours at Loew's.