The Los Angeles Aqueduct: Background information when reading Properties of Thirst

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Properties of Thirst

by Marianne Wiggins

Properties of Thirst by Marianne Wiggins X
Properties of Thirst by Marianne Wiggins
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  • First Published:
    Aug 2022, 544 pages

    May 30, 2023, 544 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs
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About this Book

The Los Angeles Aqueduct

This article relates to Properties of Thirst

Black and white photo of the opening of the LA Aqueduct in 1913In Marianne Wiggins' novel, Properties of Thirst, one of the main characters is in an ongoing battle with the Los Angeles Department of Water over their aqueduct installation in California's Owens Valley.

Los Angeles was officially founded on September 4, 1781 as part of Spain's colonization of California. As the town grew so did its water needs, and over time a series of canals and reservoirs were built to take advantage of the Los Angeles River and its tributaries. By the end of the 19th century, however, it was becoming clear that the existing water supply would be insufficient to support the burgeoning population.

The water system had been managed by a private corporation, the Los Angeles City Water Company, with William Mulholland as its superintendent. Mulholland was a self-trained engineer, born in Ireland, who'd started out as a ditch digger for the company. In 1902, the city bought out the business and formed the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, retaining ...

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