- Historic Sites
The Water War
As Owens Valley water came down the aqueduct, thirsty Los Angeles rejoiced. But angry farmers were buying dynamite and cleaning guns
December 1961 | Volume 13, Issue 1
Today the valley is sustained by the stock-grazing economy it knew before the farmers dug their canals— and by a growing tourist trade, for eastern California has become a year-round playground for the very people who once were its worst enemies. Because of Owens Valley water, Los Angeles grew to the two million population promised by Mulholland. Now the valley’s contribution to the city’s growth is coming back in the form of tourist dollars. Angelenos, once afraid to identify themselves in the valley, are welcomed as paying customers. Supported by this commerce, Owens Valley today boasts more permanent residents than it did before it came under the shadow of Metropolis. But it is no longer the home of frontier farmers breathing the exhilarating air of self-reliance. It is a tributary province to the city it helped to build.