State Water Project
In 1960, California voters approved financing for construction of the initial features of the State Water Project (SWP). The project includes some 22 dams and reservoirs, a Delta pumping plant, a 444-mile-long aqueduct that carries water from the Delta through the San Joaquin Valley to southern California. The project begins at Oroville Dam on the Feather River and ends at Lake Perris near Riverside. At the Tehachapi Mountains, giant pumps lift the water from the California Aqueduct some 2,000 feet over the mountains and into southern California.
The SWP provides irrigation water to farms in the San Joaquin Valley, and is a major source of supply for cities in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, and other parts of southern California. In addition, the SWP serves cities in Napa and Solano counties through the North Bay Aqueduct, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties through the Coastal Aqueduct and communities in Alameda and Santa Clara counties through the South Bay Aqueduct. The project is operated by the California Department of Water Resources.