Construction of the Owens Valley Project (the Los Angeles Aqueduct) began in the first decade of the 20th century. It was considered one of the engineering marvels of the era, rivaling the Panama Canal. (The movie "Chinatown" is based on the project but reset in the 1930s. The movie version is highly fictionalized. See S. Erie, "Beyond Chinatown" (Stanford U Press, 2006).