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Edward Hyatt Jr.

Edward Hyatt Jr. (1888-1954) was the state engineer of California from 1927-1950. In a 1928 report he wrote titled “Water is the Life Blood of California — The Division of Engineering and Irrigation of the State Department of Public Works; What it Does and How it Operates,” he called the department the “building organization of California’s state government” and described successes, challenges and responsibilities of his position.

According to an excerpt from his report’s beginning: “The limit of profit by dry farming was reached in 1885, and it is since that time that irrigation has been intensively practiced in the state of California. The phenomenal growth and expansion of irrigated areas necessitated the construction of dams, diversion works, canals and other works of such magnitude that their initial cost prohibited their being undertaken by individuals.”

According to the California Department of Water Resources’ online history, in 1931 Hyatt introduced the State Water Plan report, which outlined the facilities required and funding necessary for a north-to-south water transfer plan and eventually led to the development of the California State Water Project and Central Valley Project. The powerplant at Oroville Dam was renamed the Edward Hyatt Pump Generation Powerplant in his honor.

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