The delivery of water to Los Angeles at the turn of the 20th century gives rise to one of the greatest cities in the world.
In The Water Way, the transformation of Los Angeles from humble Spanish pueblo to one of the largest metropolitan centers in the world is recounted from the perspective of its first resident, the L.A. River, along with the oligarchs and public officials who develop and nurture this erstwhile arid desert. Through real estate speculation, businessmen such as railroad tycoons Moses Sherman and Henry Huntington coax an ambitious nation to move west, while L.A. Times publisher General Harrison Grey Otis and his son-in-law Harry Chandler use the power of the press to sculpt public opinion in favor of a 233-mile aqueduct.
Despite competing self-interests, dubious motivations, and the deadly collapse of the St. Francis Dam, the determination of Irish immigrant William Mulholland and native son Fred Eaton to bring faraway water to a parched population empowers the City of the Angels to ascend.
This is their story, as well as it is ours.