Chronologies and timelines of some of California’s major water
1769 First permanent Spanish settlements
established. Water rights established by Spanish law.
1848 Gold discovered on the American River.
Treaty of Guadalupe signed, California ceded from Mexico,
California republic established.
1850 California admitted to Union. Construction
begins on Delta levees and channels.
1860 Legislature authorizes the formation of
levee and reclamation districts.
1862 Major flood in Sacramento Valley
inundates new city.
600 Ancestral Pueblo and Hohokam Indians develop
water distribution systems.
1500 Spanish explorers introduce livestock and
ditch systems called acequias.
1847 Mormons arrive in the Salt Lake Valley;
begin cultivating farmland.
1859 Oliver Wozencraft promotes idea of
irrigating the Imperial
Colorado River lands begin to be set aside for American
1849-1850 Gold discovered in
the Lower Klamath Basin. Farms and ranches established in the
Scott and Shasta valleys.
1855 Klamath River Reservation established on
the Lower Klamath River.
1864 Hoopa Valley Tribe and Klamath Tribes cede
most of their lands for settlement but retain large reservations.
1868 Two farmers dig first irrigation ditch in
the Upper Klamath Basin.
1772 First recorded sighting of the Bay Delta by
1849 Settlers begin farming in the Delta.
1861 Reclamation District Act authorized,
allowing drainage of Delta lands and construction of sturdier
flood control levees.
1879 The striped bass is brought by rail from
the East Coast to the Delta.
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