Central Valley Project (CVP) is a United States Bureau of
Reclamation federal water project in the U.S. state of
Sugar Pine Dam and Reservoir, the
current primary dam of the Auburn-Folsom South Unit of the
The project supplies irrigation and
municipal water, produces hydropower, and provides flood control
on its many large
reservoirs. Twenty dams and reservoirs, 11 hydroelectric
power plants, and of canals and
aqueducts make up the project, which is separated into eight
divisions and ten distinct units. Nine million acre feet
of water are managed by the CVP, while 7
million acre feet are delivered annually.
rainfall patterns in the Central Valley of California, a predominantly agricultural area,
have always posed major problems for crops grown in the valley,
which receives most of its rainfall from the north.
storage and management project was needed to control water flows
and distribute Northern California water evenly among the north and
central parts of the state. The Central Valley Project was created
in 1933 for this purpose. In the years following, water delivery to
this area turned what was previously a semi-arid desert
into productive farmland. California
agriculture and related industries directly account for 7% of the
gross state product for which the CVP supplied water for about
half. In recent years, however, regulatory decisions based on the
Endangered Species Act (ESA of 1973) have turned off much of the
water to the Central Valley’s Westside, to prevent salt water
contaminating the habitat of the Delta smelt fish. This has led to
demands that water be sent downriver to the farms from
agribusiness. However much of the recreational and commercial
fishing in the state, based around salmon, would be affected if the
salmon's main food source of delta smelt was to be
Many CVP water users are represented by the Central Valley Project
Valley is one of the largest geographical features in
California, covering .
Farming in the valley has a long
history, dating back to well before the California Gold Rush
. It began mostly
with cattle ranching
, but a drought
that lasted from 1863 to 1864 brought an end
to this livelihood. In the years following the unprecedented
die-off of cattle, farmers in the valley practiced dry-weather
farming of small grains
. In more recent times,
the agriculture of the valley has turned to large, mechanized,
farms, using far more water
than any farming practices in the past. Due to the extreme change
in rainfall patterns in the Central Valley—with over of annual rain
in the north while less than of rain falls annually in the south—a
solution clearly was needed to bring water to the dry parts of the
region, and perhaps extend to more arid regions in southern
Flood on the Sacramento River, showing
Before the CVP was initiated, the erratic rainfall patterns in the
valley, with over 75% of rainfall occurring in a five-month rainy
season, caused difficulties for inhabitants of the valley. The
valley suffered from a series of floods and droughts in the north
and south sections of it respectively, brought on by the imbalanced
rainfall. The Sacramento River
which drains the north part, receives between 60% and 75% of the
of northern California,
while it covers only about 25% of the area. The San Joaquin River
, which drains the south
part, suffers from just the opposite problem in that it covers a
large area but collects little water. This peculiar phenomenon has
led to severe floods in the north, while the arid south often
experiences droughts. The Sacramento River has had a catastrophic
history of floods,
while no less than of the San Joaquin channel is dry.
result, the southern end of the valley, (San Joaquin
Valley) was suffering from an increasing number of crops
needing irrigation with a steadily shrinking water supply.
diversions off the river lowered the stream flow at the Sacramento-San
Joaquin Delta, which caused major problems for the water quality
of the area.
At the delta, there is a shallow tidal estuary
called Suisun Bay
If the combined flows of the rivers at that point was less than per
second, there would be a sudden influx of salt water into the bay
at high tide. The situation was at its worst from 1919 to 1924,
when a wood-boring saltwater worm, teredo (a genus of shipworm
), saw a massive jump in population in the
Suisun Bay. The teredo population caused approximately 25 million
dollars of damage to wooden structures in the bay. The worst year
was 1924, when the combined flow from the rivers was at a record
1926, the neighboring cities of Pittsburgh and Antioch decided to cease drawing water from the bay,
because of its salt content, which once peaked at 65
percent. By 1930, the situation was so bleak, that the
state pressed for the construction of a dam at
Kennett (later to become the
Dam), that would be high, to keep constant the flow of
water to Suisun Bay.
Although the first attempt at developing a Central Valley Project
dates back to 1873, when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
prepared a report detailing irrigation in the Central Valley and
Basin, the plan, which had gone
through several revisions since then, was submitted much later to
the Governor of California
in 1919. In 1931, the State Water
was submitted by the Division of Water Resources
the legislature; this was a plan for what would later be known as
the Central Valley Project. The California Central Valley Project
Act, which authorized the sale of revenue bonds to build the
Central Valley Project, was passed in 1933. Unfortunately, the
passing of the act coincided with the Great Depression
, and the bonds failed to
sell. The Rivers and Harbors
of 1935 handed the CVP over to the federal government. The
of 1935 provided funds to build the first
components of the CVP by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Rivers and Harbors Act was reauthorized in 1937, giving control of
the CVP once more to the Bureau of Reclamation.
The CVP's facilities were built for several primary purposes: to
provide flood and water control, to improve navigation, to provide
a water supply and to generate power. The authorizations of the
following CVP components and divisions were made under the Rivers
and Harbors Act of October 17, 1940:
Central Valley Project began with the construction of the Contra Costa
Canal in 1937; it started delivering water on August 16,
1940; and was completed to its terminus in 1948.
Dam on the Sacramento River, the largest and most
important dam in the Central Valley Project, was begun in 1938 and
completed in 1945.
The Sacramento River was blocked on
January 1944, and power was first generated at the dam in June of
that year. The Folsom Dam was begun in 1948 and finished in
1956.Some of the CVP's components, including the
Forebay, and part of the California Aqueduct, were developed in
tandem with and are shared with the California State Water
Project (CSWP or SWP).
American River Division
Nimbus Dam on the American River
The American River Division
of the Central Valley
Project consists of three units, which are the Folsom
, Sly Park Unit
Auburn-Folsom South Unit
. The former two were
authorized in 1949, and the latter in 1965. True to its name, the
American River Division taps the American
, a tributary
to the Sacramento River
, which drains off the west
side of the Sierra Nevada
The Folsom and Sly Park units of the American River Division are
primarily for flood control and municipal water supply, with Folsom
Dam being the single most important component for flood control.
The primary purpose of the Auburn-Folsom South Unit is irrigation.
In 1955, Folsom and the downstream Nimbus dams spared downstream
communities 20 million dollars in flood damage. In the 1963-1964
floods, the Folsom and Nimbus dams prevented some 90 million
dollars in damage. The largest flood came in 1986, when 1,140,000
of water poured in for six days
without stopping. The system altogether has prevented over 4.83
billion dollars of flood damage as on 1994. In addition, the
American River division provides water to irrigate roughly , with a
annual crop value of 12 million dollars. Power generated by the
dams are marketed to the Western Area Power
. Recreational opportunities also come with the
reservoirs formed by the dams, and Folsom Lake is especially
popular with tourists.
Folsom Unit consists of
Dam and powerplant, Folsom Lake, Nimbus
Dam and powerplant, and Lake Natoma.
All of these structures are built directly
on the American River.
The Sly Park Unit
relies on water from Sly Park
Creek and Camp Creek, which are both tributaries to the American
Sly Park Creek, there are the Sly Park Dam and its
reservoir, Jenkinson Lake; and on Camp Creek, there is the
Camp Creek Diversion Dam, which supplies water to
Jenkinson Lake, which in turn supplies water to the town of
California, via the Camino Conduit.
The Sly Park Dam was begun in 1953 and finished in 1955, while the
Camp Creek Diversion Dam was begun and finished both in 1953.
The Auburn-Folsom South Unit
taps both the
and several of its
tributaries, including Shirttail Creek. The currently working
components of the project include Sugar Pine Dam and reservoir and
the Folsom South Canal. A second and third dam, the Auburn Dam and County Line Dam, were proposed but never built
due to various reasons, including the discovery of a nearby
prominent and important feature of the Folsom Unit is
Dam, which was built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
October 1948 to May 1956. The dam, originally proposed as a flood
control dam with a capacity of 355,000 acre
, was revised to be a multi-purpose dam with a capacity of
1.01 million acre feet. The Folsom Dam's main structure measures
high and is long. The left extension of the dam stands high and
long, while its counterpart on the right is the same height but
much longer, nearly . To hold the water in Folsom Lake, the reservoir created by the Folsom Dam, it was
necessary to add eight more earthfill saddle dams and one auxiliary
The main structure of the dam rests on granitic rock.
The eight-gated spillway
of the dam can
carry up to of water per second, while the outlet works
can operate at per second. The peak
calculated inflow for the American River is per second from of
The reservoir is ringed by a series of smaller dams, the most
notable of which is the Mormon Island Auxiliary
in a ravine
called Blue Ravine.
The rolled earthfill dam is high and long. The amount of earth it
uses amounts to about 3,820,000 cubic yards. The other earthfill
saddle dams are between and in height, and from to long. All of
these dams are connected together with the main dam. If seen as a
whole, the dam, encompassing the main, wing, saddle, and auxiliary
dams, is . This distance is . The total volume of material used in
building the dams is 13,790,000 cubic yards of material, including
earth, concrete, and steel.
Dam forms Folsom
Lake (also Lake Folsom), a
The Folsom Lake State
surrounds the lake, and is the most popular
multi-use year round state park in the state of California. The
park, which has over of trails, covers .
Panorama of Folsom Lake during
drought; the lake is at less than 25 percent of full pool.
The Folsom Dam also has a hydroelectric
power plant, the Folsom
. The power plant has a nameplate capacity of
(KW), driven by three
generators each producing over 76,000 KW which are in turn powered
by three 74,000 horsepower
. Each turbine is fed by a penstock, in
diameter, that tunnel through the right side of the dam. The power
plant was begun in June 1951, and mostly finished by October 5,
Nimbus Dam from the air
downstream from the Folsom Dam, another smaller dam called the Nimbus Dam blocks the American River, forming Lake Natoma, a popular recreation area. The Nimbus Dam is high above foundations and has a hydraulic height of . It measures long. It is thick at its base, while it tapers off to thick at its crest. The dam is equipped with 17 spillway gates, which have a combined release capacity of per second. 121,000 cubic yards of concrete are used in the dam. Above the dam, the drainage area of the American River is . The Nimbus Dam rests on some of alluvium, as well as tuff and volcanic sandstone.
Looking downstream at the Nimbus
Nimbus Dam also has a hydroelectric power plant, on the north side
of the American River. Its nameplate generating capacity is 7,763
kilowatts with two 3,500 kilowatt generators, each powered by a
9,400 horsepower, 150 rpm Kaplan
. Each of the six penstocks that feed water to the
turbines is long, high, and wide.
Another downstream of the Nimbus Dam lies the Nimbus Fish
, a fish hatchery
built in 1955. The hatchery was built to compensate for lost
spawning grounds of anadromous fish in the American River. The
hatchery can hold 30 million eggs, and water is supplied through a
concrete pipe, in diameter, that carries water from the Nimbus
Sly Park Unit
Park Unit centers around Sly Park Dam and its
41,000 acre-foot, reservoir, Jenkinson Lake, both near Placerville,
The dam was begun on May 1953 with clearing
operations, and was completed in mid 1955. The earthfill Sly Park
Dam is high, with a hydraulic height
of , and long. Its auxiliary dam is
high and long. The spillway
of Sly Park Dam
is actually in the auxiliary dam: it is a concrete chute long and
can carry per second, while the outlet
at the foot of the dam can carry per second. The drainage
area of Sly Park Creek behind the dam is . The Camino
diverts water roughly west from the Jenkinson
The Camp Creek Diversion Dam
is built on Camp
Creek, a drainage south-west of Sly Park Creek. The dam was begun
on February 15, 1953; and finished on November 29, 1953. It diverts
some water from the creek into Jenkinson Lake through the
Camp Creek Tunnel
, a tunnel in diameter, and with
a capacity of per second. The dam itself is tall and long.
Auburn-Folsom South Unit
Sugar Pine Dam
Sugar Pine Dam
is the major dam of the
Auburn-Folsom South Unit, built on North Shirttail Creek, a
tributary to the American River. The dam construction was begun in
early 1979 and completed in 1982. Holding back Sugar Pine
Reservoir, the earthfill Sugar Pine Dam is high and long. Its base
is thick, and the dam contains a total of of material. The Sugar
Pine Reservoir holds 6,921 acre feet of water. The Sugar
Pine Pipeline, completed in 1983, carries per second of
water through a to pipe to Foresthill, California.
The currently Folsom South Canal
is complete in
two of its five sections, which originally was planned to be long.
diverts water from the Nimbus
Dam, part of the Folsom-Sly Park division,
It has a capacity of per second and has a width
of at its base.
Auburn Dam was a proposed dam on the North Fork of
the American River, near the city of Auburn, California.
Foresthill Bridge from the American
The concrete thin-arch dam would produce
electricity and provide flood control, water supply and recreation
for and from the North and Middle forks of the river. The power
plant would have had five 150,000 Kilowatt units, for a total
generating capacity of 750,000 kilowatts. At a height of , a length
of , and a volume of 6.5 million cubic yards of concrete alone, it
would easily have been the largest concrete arch dam ever built.
However, because of the presence of a major earthquake fault in the
area, and because of the frequent earthquakes caused by it, the dam
project was abandoned, ending a controversy over the American
River. Notably, one of the largest bridges ever built by
Reclamation, the Foresthill Bridge
still stands near the original dam site. The bridge is high and
County Line Dam
was another proposed dam, this
time on a smaller stream named Deer Creek. The dam site is about
south of that of Folsom
The dam would have been high and long,
impounding 40,000 acre feet of water. The project is authorized for
construction but has not yet been built, nor is a specific time
proposed for building the dam.
Delta Division of the Central Valley Project
transports water through the Sacramento-San
Joaquin Delta and the central portion of the Central Valley.
The division consists
of a series of canals and pumping plants. As of 1992, of farmland
were made arable by the water provided by the division. The
operation of the Delta Division centers around the water quality of
the Delta and Suisun Bay
, where a
infestation and rising
salt content spelled problems for nearby towns.
The Delta Cross Channel
, begun in 1945, is a
large, controlled diversion channel that carries water between the
and Snodgrass Slough
. The path of the water
is diverted from the Sacramento into the slough near Walnut
Grove, California, through a wide channel that has a capacity of per
There is also a connecting channel between the
Sacramento River and Mokelumne
, for the purposes of keeping water quality stable. After
this complex series of diversions, the water is drawn into of
naturally formed channels to the C.W. Bill Jones Pumping
Plant, which moves water into the Delta-Mendota Canal.
The diversion system was necessary to
prevent the relatively clean and natural flows of the Sacramento
River from mixing with the highly polluted remnants of the San Joaquin River
. During floods from the
San Joaquin watershed, the floodgates
the head of the diversion are closed, preventing toxins from
reaching the Tracy Pumping Plant and eventually, the regional water
The C.W. Bill Jones Pumping Plant
(formerly the Tracy Pumping Plant
) lies at the
terminus of the Delta Cross Channel and moves water into the
Delta-Mendota Canal. The plant, which has six separate pumps, was
built from June 23, 1947, to 1951. Each pump, powered by a 22,250
horsepower motor, lifts up to per second of water into three
-diameter pipes that lead to the Delta-Mendota Canal, for a
combined capacity of per second. The Delta-Mendota Canal carries water upstream through the
Valley, terminating at the Mendota Pool, a reservoir on
the San Joaquin River.
In effect, the C.W. Bill Jones
Pumping Plant and the canal move Sacramento River water upstream
into the San Joaquin Valley, replenishing water supply in the area
and compensating for the polluted and insufficient water in the San
Canal, beginning at Rock
Slough, diverts water from the Delta to the Martinez Reservoir.
climbs a total of , and its flow is assisted by four pump plants.
The canal diverts per second at first, but loses most of its volume
by its terminus, where its average flow is only per second. The
Contra Costa Canal was begun on October 19, 1937, and was finished
Contra Loma Dam and Reservoir
The Contra Loma Dam
is a storage reservoir for the
Contra Costa Canal. The dam was built from November 3, 1967, to
November 24, 1967. The dam, which contains 641,000 cubic yards of
material, is high, long, and at its base. The reservoir holds 2,100
acre feet of water, and the spillway is a concrete chute with a
capacity of per second. The dam is near the southern end of the city
Friant Division of the CVP is the conduit for
transporting and storing San Joaquin
River water both north and south throughout the San Joaquin
Valley. Much of the project centers around the
Dam, completed in 1942, which has had severe negative
effects on the San Joaquin
Other components of the project include the
Friant-Kern Canal and the Madera Canal.
Dam, a concrete gravity dam on the San Joaquin
River, is the major component of the Friant Division.
dam was begun in 1939 and completed in 1942. It is high and long,
thick at the base and thick at its crest. The dam contains
2,135,000 cubic yards of concrete. The spillway of the dam has a
capacity of per second, and the outlet works are able to run at per
second. The drainage basin of the river above the dam is roughly .
Lake, is long and has of shoreline.
parts of the dam that were once in good condition have begun to
deteriorate, and the Bureau of Reclamation predicted in 1984 that
this slow decay will eventually affect the structural integrity of
The Friant Dam has several means to release water. The three massive
spillways of the dam are similar in
placement to that of Shasta
Each of the three spillway chutes is
controlled by a gate wide and high. As mentioned before, the
spillways have a capacity of roughly per second, which is
approximately per second per spillway chute. The elevation of the
tops of the spillways is at above sea level. The gates, which rise
by means of flotation, form part of the dam crest in low water, and
that is the major difference from the Shasta Dam. Despite the
massive size of the spillways, they have rarely been used. The
river outlet works of the dam (into the river itself) consist of
four steel pipes that bore through the dam, each with a diameter of
. Each pipe is controlled by a valve
downstream end, in diameter, for a total release capacity of per
second. However, like the spillways, this system is used only a
fraction of its capacity, with releases often less than per second.
A similarly designed set of outlet works release water into the
Friant-Kern Canal, and a smaller set of outlet works feed water
into the Madera Canal.
Canal is long, carrying water south from
Millerton Lake to the Kern River near
California. The canal has an initial volume of per
second, supplying water to Tulare,
Fresno, and Kern
At its end at the Kern River, the canal carries
per second. The canal is wide at the top and wide at its base in
the concrete sections, which encompass over 85 percent of its
length. In the earthen sections, the canal is wide at the base.
Water depth in the canal varies, but in most sections it ranges
from deep in the concrete sections to deep in the earthen sections.
Over 350 utility lines were relocated during construction of the
canal, while more than 500 canal support structures were
smaller 1945 Madera
Canal runs north from Millerton Lake to
farmlands in Madera
County and eventually the Chowchilla River.
The canal has an
initial capacity of per second, decreasing to per second as it
reaches its terminus. The initial capacity of the canal at its
beginning was per second from construction to 1965, when the canal
walls were raised to increase the capacity to its present capacity.
The water depth is to deep in most places, and roughly 79 percent
of the canal is earthen.
East Side Division
East Side Division of the CVP basically consists
of New Melones Unit, which is New Melones
Dam, Lake, and Powerplant, all on the Stanislaus
The New Melones Dam is the seventh highest
in the United States, standing tall. (See List of dams of the
United States by height
.) One of the more controversial
divisions of the CVP, the New Melones Dam, despite its benefits,
was heavily fought over by many, for many reasons; including loss
of whitewater rapids
Stanislaus and the flooding of archaeological sites in the
limestone canyon, the deepest of its kind in the western United
New Melones Dam is central to the New Melones Unit and the
East Side Division, and is located about east of Stockton,
New Melones Dam
The rockfill dam, built on the Stanislaus
River from 1966 to 1979, submerges the high Old Melones Dam in its
reservoir (hence the term 'New'). The dam is high and long, holding
back the 2.4 million acre foot, New Melones Lake, which has of
shoreline. The dam can release per second. New Melones Dam was
built from July 1966, when the access roads were built; to October
28, 1978, when the dam embankment was completed. The reservoir
filled to capacity in 1983.
Below the New Melones Dam is the New Melones
on the north bank of the Stanislaus River. The
two generators of the plant each have a capacity of 150,000
kilowatts, though the plant consistently produces only about
279,000 kilowatts. Two penstocks branching off the outlet works of
the dam, each in diameter, feed water to the power plant. The
turbines are Francis turbines
have a hydraulic head of roughly .
Sacramento Canals Division
Sacramento River Division of the CVP, authorized
on September 29, 1950, consists mainly of the Sacramento
Canals Unit in Tehama County,
County, and Colusa County, in
the Sacramento Valley.
Red Bluff Diversion Dam
series of diversion dams
, pump plants,
and canals make up the unit, which takes water from the Sacramento River
into several canals that
irrigate roughly . The Black Butte
was integrated into the Sacramento Canals Division on
October 23, 1970.
The Red Bluff Diversion Dam
is a concrete gated
and series of earthfill dikes on the
Sacramento River, high and in length. The dam was begun in 1962 and
completed in 1964. Water diverted from the river travels to the
and Tehama-Colusa Canal
. Since the dam
blocks the main channel of the river, it has had negative effects
on the anadromous fish
of the river,
such as salmon
. Even though the dam has
and openings to allow
salmon to migrate upstream and downstream, the turbulence generated
by the openings disorients the fish, making them easy targets for
large predators such as squawfish
were said to have "lined up on the downstream side of Red Bluff Dam
to feast on the small fish". Despite efforts to help the fish,
including installation of artificial gravel beds and a fish screen,
the population dropped to less than 5 percent than that of the
Funks Reservoir on the Tehama-Colusa
The Tehama-Colusa Canal
is the canal that carries
diverted water away from the Red Bluff Diversion Dam. long, the
canal initially carries per second, and at its terminus per second.
The canal was built from July 31, 1965 to May 13, 1980. Fish
facilities in the canal were completed on July 8, 1971; Reach 6 of
the canal on April 20, 1979; and Reach 7 on July 3, 1979. A dam
called Funks Dam
controls water flow along the
Tehama-Colusa Canal. Five pump plants take water from the canal and
feed it into the Colusa County water distribution grid.
West San Joaquin Division
San Luis Unit
Satellite photo of San Luis Reservoir
and O'Neill Forebay
The San Luis Unit
is the backbone of the
West San Joaquin Division
of the CVP. The unit,
authorized in 1960, was paid for both by the State of California
and by the federal government. The unit consists of several dams,
large reservoirs, pump plants, canals, and drains.
B.F. Sisk Dam (San Luis Dam) is the
major dam of the project, west of the city of Los Baños,
California. Built from 1963 to 1967 on San Luis Creek,
the dam forms the San Luis Reservoir.
Sisk (San Luis) Dam and Reservoir
The B.F. Sisk Dam is high, long, and is at
an elevation of above sea level. Its thickness at the base is at
the widest point, while the crest thickness is . These dimensions make
it the third largest dam by volume in the United States, third only
to Fort Peck
Dam and Oahe
The dam has a morning-glory type spillway
that can accommodate roughly per second. Unlike most dams, the
outlet works of the B.F. Sisk Dam have a higher capacity than the
spillway, at per second. San Luis Reservoir has a capacity of
2,041,000 acre feet. Notably, the dam is situated near two
seismic faults: the San Andreas Fault is from the dam, while the Calaveras-Hayward Fault is closer,
The dam is designed specially to withstand a
seismic shock from either fault; it was built to withstand an
earthquake of the magnitude of the 1906 San Francisco
Gianelli Pumping-Generating Plant aerial view
The William R. Gianelli Pumping-Generating
is located directly downstream of the B.F. Sisk Dam.
It is a unique dual-purpose facility encompassing eight units that
can either pump water to the San Luis Reservoir or produce power.
Each unit can create 53,000 kilowatts when generating, and uses
63,000 horsepower when pumping. The water used while generating is
per second per unit, while each unit can pump per second.
The O'Neill Dam
is downstream of San Luis Dam, also on
San Luis Creek. Forming a reservoir called the O'Neill
Forebay, the dam is high, long, and is at an elevation of
Like the upstream B.F. Sisk Dam, the O'Neill Dam has a
morning-glory type spillway, only it has a much higher capacity,
per second. The O'Neill Forebay (reservoir) has a capacity of
56,400 acre feet. Water is diverted into the forebay from the
Delta-Mendota Canal, part of the Delta Division of the
The O'Neill Pumping Plant
into the forebay. Similar to the William R. Gianelli
Pumping-Generating Plant, it can generate 4,200 kilowatts per unit
of power on demand when not pumping.
The concrete-lined San Luis Canal
leads water away
from the O'Neill Forebay. long, extending from the reservoir to
City, California, the canal is "the largest earth-moving project in
At Kettleman City, the water from the
conduit feeds into the California
. The canal is wide at the surface, wide at the bottom,
and deep; and able to move between and per second of water. The
first release of water into the canal was on April 13, 1967. The
Dos Amigos Pumping Plant
relifts the water in the
San Luis Canal vertically. Each of the six units of the plant can
pump up to per second, adding up to a total of per second.
The Coalinga Canal
) is a branch of the San Luis Canal. It originates at
the Pleasant Valley Pumping Plant
, which pumps
water from the San Luis Canal through nine units that deliver per
second of water to the Coalinga Canal. per second of water is fed
into a channel that provides water to land in the immediate area.
At its end, the capacity decreases to per second.
Los Banos Detention Dam, completed in 1965, and
the Little Panoche Detention Dam, completed in
1966, provide flood control and recreation to the city of Los Banos,
The former dam is high and long. Its
capacity for storage is 34,500 acre feet, and its maximum release
capacity is per second. The latter dam is high and long, storing
5,580 acre feet of water.
The San Luis Drain
is a subsurface drainage system
that handles irrigation runoff from approximately in the are
irrigated by the San Luis Unit. The drain would have discharged waste water
into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, however; concerns about water quality paused the
project indefinitely in 1975.
of the original planned of
drainage channels were completed. The Kesterson Reservoir is a series of holding ponds designed to evaporate
polluted runoff water from the San Luis Drain.
capacity of the drain was per second.
San Felipe Division
San Felipe Division of the CVP was authorized in
1960 to bring water to of land in the Santa Clara Valley in Santa
Clara, San Benito, Santa Cruz, and Monterey
The division consists of one storage reservoir,
four conduits for transporting water, and several pumping
San Justo Dam is the major
dam of the San Felipe Division, an earthfill structure
approximately southwest of Hollister, California.
The dam is high, long, and its elevation is
above sea level. The dam is an offstream storage facility, forming
the San Justo Reservoir. San Justo Reservoir is deep and contains
9,906 acre feet of water. An auxiliary dam high and long assists
the San Justo Dam in holding back the reservoir.
Pacheco Tunnel diverts water from the San Luis
Reservoir through the Diablo Mountains.
The two reaches of the diameter tunnel
total long. Between the two reaches, the Pacecho Pumping
assists the flow between the two sections. The per
second capacity Pacheco Conduit
runs from the
Pacheco Tunnel to the point where it divides into several smaller
- The Hollister Conduit, which is long, carries
up to per second of water from Pacheco Conduit into the San Justo
- The Santa Clara Tunnel and Conduit runs ,
carrying per second of water.
Shasta/Trinity River Divisions
Shasta Dam, with Shasta Lake at its
highest level, July, 1965
The Shasta Division
is one of the two divisions of
the CVP, the other being the Trinity River
divert water from the northern section of the Central Valley to the
southern parts of the state. The division taps the Sacramento River, north of Redding,
California. The Shasta Dam and its reservoir are the central components to the
division, and the dam and powerplant are among the largest in
Power generation, irrigation, river flow
maintenance, water supply, and environmental reasons are kept in
check by the division. Recreation is also popular on the large
reservoirs maintained by the division. Components of the
Shasta Division include Shasta Dam, Shasta Lake, Shasta Powerplant, Keswick Dam, and Keswick
Dam and accompanying reservoir are built on
the Sacramento River.
The dam provides flood control and
water storage for water users in the lower basin of the river.
second largest dam by mass in the United States, exceeded only by
the Grand Coulee
Dam in the Pacific
Northwest, the concrete arch-gravity Shasta Dam is high, long,
and thick at the base.
The dam contains 6,270,000 cubic
yards of concrete. The 4,551,000 acre foot Shasta Lake, the largest man-made lake in California, is formed
behind the dam, which rests on solid greenstone.
The maximum spillway release
capacity through the dam is per second, per second of which is
through the river outlets and per second of which is through the
massive spillway on the front face of the dam.
The Shasta Powerplant
, one of the largest
hydroelectric plants in California, is located at the foot of the
Shasta Dam. 5 main generators, two of which went on-line in 1944
and the three later of which were installed completely in 1949,
make up the 680,000 kilowatt generating capacity of the dam. The
units, manufactured by General
, measure nearly across each. The total height of the
plant is .
The Keswick Dam
is also on the Sacramento River.
downstream from the Shasta Dam, the dam forms the 23,800 Keswick
Reservoir, an afterbay for the Shasta Dam that stabilizes water
released from it. The dam is high, long, and thick at the base,
containing roughly 214,000 cubic yards of concrete. The dam rests
rock that is heavily weathered and
fractured by a series of veins and seams. The dam's power plant
produces a further 117,000 kilowatts of electricity to bolster
electric production from the Shasta Dam.
Trinity River Division
The Trinity Division
operates in close proximity
to the Shasta Division. The structures of the division use the
waters of the Trinity
River, a tributary to the Klamath
River, which flows to the Pacific Ocean. The Trinity Dam and Trinity
Lake are the main dam and reservoir of the
There are also three other dams and several
diversion channels and tunnels contained in the division.
stored in Trinity Lake, released downstream to the Lewiston Dam, partially diverted into the Clear Creek Tunnel,
flows to generates power at the Judge Francis Carr Powerhouse, and
finally discharges into Whiskeytown Lake.
Cow Creek Unit and
Clear Creek South Unit are part of the division.
Dam, built from 1957 to 1962, blocks the
Trinity River to form Trinity Lake, one of the largest man-made lakes in
California. The dam, from Lewiston,
California, is a straight-axis earthfill design, high, and
Trinity Dam and Trinity Lake
The spillway, auxiliary spillway, and outlet works of
the dam, which can release per second, per second, and per second,
respectively, have a combined release capacity of per second. The
, which began generating power
in 1964, is a peaking power
with a capacity of 140,000 kilowatts. Trinity Lake has a
volume of 2,448,000 acre feet at full pool, and is a popular
Dam and reservoir are an afterbay to the
Trinity Dam, also serving as a diversion
Roughly high and long, the dam is downstream from
Trinity Dam. At full pool, the reservoir capacity is 14,660 acre
feet. The Lewiston Powerplant
is a hydroelectric
plant located at the foot of Lewiston Dam, producing 350 megawatts.
The dam is a run-of-river
meaning that it uses the natural flow and elevation drop of a river
to generate electricity.
The dam diverts water into the diameter Clear Creek Tunnel, which runs to the Whiskeytown Reservoir.
The Trinity River Fish Hatchery
, with a capacity
of 40 million eggs, is downstream from the Lewiston Dam,
compensating for lost fish habitat upstream of the dam.
The Clear Creek Tunnel leads water to Clear Creek (also Crystal
Creek), a neighboring drainage to the Trinity River. At the end of
the tunnel lies the Judge Francis Carr Powerhouse
originally named the Clear Creek Powerplant
it began operating in 1963. The power plant generates 154,400 kilowatts
of electricity before the water is discharged into the uppermost
extremity of the Whiskeytown Reservoir, also located on Clear Creek.
Whiskeytown Reservoir is formed by the
Whiskeytown Dam, northwest of Redding,
Whiskeytown Dam and Reservoir
The earthfill dam, built from 1960 to 1963,
is high, long, and elevation at crest is . The dam has a spillway
capacity of per second and per second may be passed through its
Spring Creek Dam is on Spring Creek, a tributary to the
Spring Creek Dam
The dam is an earthfill dam high and long.
Its original construction was from 1961 to 1963. Spring Creek
Reservoir, capacity 5,870 acre feet, backs up behind the dam. Water
may be released through a set of outlet works, able to release per
second, and a spillway, which can release per second. The dam
serves to trap debris from entering the Spring Creek Powerplant,
and also to prevent contaminated acid
from proceeding downstream and contaminating the
river system. The Spring Creek Powerplant
capacity 180,000 kilowatts, is located at the base of the dam. The
power plant receives water from the Spring Creek
, a diameter tunnel carrying water roughly from
The CVP has played a major role in the development of the economy
in California. Since its completion, the over of agricultural lands
irrigated by the project have produced a total revenue of over $300
billion USD, as of about 2000. The project is responsible for
delivering 7 million acre feet
annually to agricultural, municipal, and industrial consumers. 5.6
of energy are
generated annually from the 11 hydroelectric power plants operated
by the project, which is enough electricity annually to meet the
needs of 2 million Californians. Of the many reservoirs
operated by the project, many of them
provide recreation to their respective areas.
Reservoirs in the project used partially or entirely for
recreation, including fishing, boating, hunting, and swimming,
Facilities that generate power in the project are listed by
kilowatts (KW) produced:
Divisions that deliver water for irrigation are listed and detailed
for acre feet delivered annually, land irrigated and annual crop
value of a typical, certain year:
- American River Division: 51,000 acre feet
- Annual crop value over $12,000,000 USD
- Delta Division:
- Annual crop value
- Friant Division:
- Annual crop value
- East Side Division: N/A; the primary purpose
is power generation and flood control.
- Sacramento River Division:
- Annual crop value
- San Felipe Division: 132,400 acre feet
- Annual crop value over $70 million (1991)
- West San Joaquin Division: 1,250,000 acre feet
- Annual crop value $614.8 million USD (1998)
- Shasta/Trinity Divisions:
- Annual crop value $256 million USD (1990)
Dam prevents contaminated acid mine drainage from Iron
Mountain Mine into the Sacramento River.
- Delta Division helps to prevent usable Sacramento River water
from mixing with polluted San Joaquin River water.
"TCD" (Temperature Control Device) at Shasta Dam maintains downstream water temperatures on the
Sacramento River, improving living conditions of fish.
Dam prevents spring floods from destroying spawning
grounds on the lower Trinity River.
dams on the Sacramento River prevent contamination of the Sacramento-San
Joaquin Delta by salty water.
Despite its benefits, the Central Valley Project has had a series
of former and still-occurring problems throughout its
Dam, one of the most important dams in the CVP, not
only suffers from problems with structural integrity, but has
destroyed the ecosystem of the lower San Joaquin River, leaving it dry for
stretches totaling , polluted, and with a remaining volume less
than per second directly below the dam.
population of chinook salmon
one of the largest salmon runs on the Pacific Coast, has been
destroyed by the dam operations, also ruining a thriving fishing
industry along the San Joaquin River. Pesticides
other toxic chemicals all contribute to the pollution in the lower
San Joaquin River.
Dam, at the opposite end of the Central Valley from
Friant Dam, is the largest and one of the most important dams of
the CVP, yet has had a large negative effect on the Winnemem Wintu of California, as well as
perhaps other native groups.
Originally, for more than 1,000
years, up to 14,000 Winnemem Wintu people lived in the area near
the confluence of the McCloud River
and Sacramento River
. After the
Shasta Dam was constructed, most of the land in the vicinity was
submerged, and by 1900 only 396 tribe members had survived.
Currently, only about 125 members of the tribe survive.
San Luis Dam failure risk
Despite the fact that the San Luis Dam was engineered to withstand
a quake of the magnitude of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake
(magnitude 7.8), the dam has been shown to have some faults in
structural integrity. In September 1981, a landslide
occurred on the upstream face of the dam
while the water level was low, wide and moving material up to . The
reason for this near disaster was that the dam embankment was
constructed on a plastic-like clay called slope wash
which lost most of its structural integrity when wet. The slope
wash, wettened when the reservoir was high, gave way when the only
force that was holding it in place, the weight of the water itself,
receded. A buttress
was constructed against
the slope to stabilize material, and was completed in April 1982.
However, the danger is still there, as the buttress was only built
against the slide section, and most of the rest of the dam, nearly
long, was not stabilized.