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From the archives: the inauguration of the San Diego aqueduct 75 years ago marked a new era in the region’s quest for water

Seventy-five years ago, on December 11, 1947, the 71-mile San Diego Aqueduct was dedicated and commissioned, bringing water from the Colorado River to San Diego.

In 1949, 85% of all water consumed in San Diego was water from the Colorado River.

Today, after conservation, desalination, and other efforts to increase the local water supply, approximately 70% of the region’s water supply still passes through the aqueduct system.

From the Tribune-Sun, Thursday, December 11, 1947:

Door there, tap here to mean Colorado River water in SD homes

The advent of a new era signaled by the rites of aqueduct

Navy, State, U.S. and local authorities join in the celebration

A bright new future for the San Diego area opened up today with the grand opening of the 71-mile San Diego Aqueduct, which will bring in “life-saving” water from the Colorado River.

Various Navy, federal, state and local officials, joined by civic leaders, were to participate in a day-long schedule of ceremonies marking the official completion of the $15 million concrete tube that had been under construction for three years. .

The arrival of water from the Colorado River, badly needed to supplement the supply of this region, was heralded by statements from officials contemplating large agricultural and industrial expansion in San Diego County.

A crowd of officials, led by the Citizen Aqueduct Celebration Committee, were scheduled to tour San Vicente Reservoir near Lakeside, the aqueduct’s southern terminus, this afternoon.

AJ Sutherland, chairman of the committee, was to preside over the ceremonies of the inspection trip, including a technical discussion of the project by Capt. Alden K. Fogg, 11th Naval District Public Works Officer and Engineer in Charge of Construction, and by Ernest A Moritz, Director of Region Five, US Reclamation Bureau.

Fogg will present Joseph L. Burkholder, General Manager and Chief Engineer of the San Diego County Water Authority, with the keys to the aqueduct structure, a symbol of the transfer of control of the pipeline operation from the Navy to the Water Authority .

The sponsors planned to take the officials by boat over the rising San Vicente Reservoir to see Colorado River water cascading down the mountainside from the San Vicente Tunnel into the reservoir.

With today’s celebration marking the full operation of the new aqueduct to the San Vicente Reservoir, several months of “pressure building: and additional line constructions from the reservoir to the city will be required before the homes of San Diego won’t be serviced with new water, it was pointed out.

The culmination of the dedication ceremonies will take place tonight in the Pink Room of the US Grant Hotel when Rear Admiral JJ Manning, Chief of the Office of Naval Yards and Docks, delivers the keynote address. Manning provided valuable support for the completion of the grand scheme after the end of World War II, put a temporary crimp in the plans.

will be testimony

A good part of tonight’s dinner meeting will be devoted to a public testimony of some of the key figures who have contributed to the realization of the dream of the aqueduct. Ewart W. Goodwin, president of the San Diego-Colorado River Association, will present them with special quotes and specially engraved pamphlets on “The Quest for Water in San Diego.”

Sharing the honors of speaking with Manning and Goodwin, Preston Hotchkiss, president of the Colorado River Association, Mayor Knox and Thomas.

At a celebration yesterday in Chula Vista, Alfred E. Lynds, Chula Vista’s representation to the Water Authority, said bringing water from the Colorado River here “means our survival.”

Lynds, Mayor Lorez C. Koester, and other officials encountered the old-fashioned water wagon that brought two barrels of water, symbolic of the 50 million gallons that poured into the San Vicente Reservoir daily. A parade followed the arrival of the wagon.

California Daily Newspapers

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