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The water battle:
Northern Californians will frequently say the Southern California stole our water.
Modern-day Los Angeles would never have happened were it not for that water from the Owens River, and then the Mono Basin and the Colorado and the streams of the Sierra Nevada and Klamaths all being diverted to water its industry, its suburban housing tracts.
Since 1913, the Owens River had been diverted to Los Angeles, causing the ruin of the valley's economy.
But in 1913, United States allowed, for the only time in our history, a single city to appropriate one of our national parks for its own exclusive use. When President Woodrow Wilson signed the Raker Act on December 19, 1913, he permitted San Francisco to build a dam in Yosemite National Park’s spectacular Hetch Hetchy Valley.
Opposition to the dam in Hetch Hetchy, a canyon next to Yosemite, sparked the creation of the Sierra Club, which John Muir founded to fight the project.
In the mid-20th Century, with the construction of the Central Valley Project and the State Water Project, more communities were able to tap into water from somewhere else. Seventy percent of the State Water Project's water goes to cities in Los Angeles and the Bay Area, all of it piped in from the Sacramento River and its tributaries.
Opposition to the dam in Hetch Hetchy sparked the creation of the Sierra Club, which John Muir founded to fight the project.