Topic: Central Valley Project

Overview

Central Valley Project

Constructed long ago by federal effort to help create farmland, the Central Valley Project is one of the biggest water and transport systems in the entire world.

In years of normal precipitation, it stores and distributes about 20 percent of the state’s developed water through its massive system of reservoirs and canals.Water is transported 450 miles from Lake Shasta in Northern California to Bakersfield in the southern San Joaquin Valley. 

Along the way, the CVP encompasses 18 dams and reservoirs with a combined storage capacity of 11 million acre-feet, 11 power plants and three fish hatcheries. As part of this, the Delta Mendota Canal and Friant Dam on the San Joaquin River deliver water to farms in the Central Valley.

Tour

Central Valley Tour 2014
Field Trip

This 3-day, 2-night tour travels the length of the San Joaquin Valley, giving participants a clear understanding of the State Water Project and Central Valley Project. Stops include the Kern County Water Bank, the San Joaquin River, Terminus Dam, Mendota Pool, Friant Dam, San Luis National Wildlife Refuge and San Luis Reservoir.

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to the Delta
Updated 2020

The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to the Delta explores the competing uses and demands on California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Included in the guide are sections on the history of the Delta, its role in the state’s water system, and its many complex issues with sections on water quality, levees, salinity and agricultural drainage, fish and wildlife, and water distribution.

Maps & Posters California Water Bundle

California Water Map
Updated December 2016

A new look for our most popular product! And it’s the perfect gift for the water wonk in your life.

Our 24×36 inch California Water Map is widely known for being the definitive poster that shows the integral role water plays in the state. On this updated version, it is easier to see California’s natural waterways and man-made reservoirs and aqueducts – including federally, state and locally funded projects – the wild and scenic rivers system, and natural lakes. The map features beautiful photos of California’s natural environment, rivers, water projects, wildlife, and urban and agricultural uses and the text focuses on key issues: water supply, water use, water projects, the Delta, wild and scenic rivers and the Colorado River.

Photo gallery

The Central Valley Project

Folsom Dam
Aquapedia background

San Felipe Division

California’s central coast is home to the San Felipe Division of the federal Central Valley Project. Authorized in the 1960s and completed in 1988, San Felipe Division includes a 5.3-mile-long tunnel (the Pacheco Tunnel), pumping plant and other conduits.

It transports water west from the Central Valley’s San Luis Reservoir near Los Banos to supply Santa Clara and the high-tech Santa Clara Valley as well as parts of Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito counties.

Aquapedia background

Red Bluff Fish Passage Improvement Project and Diversion Dam

The Red Bluff Diversion Dam, its gates raised since 2011 to allow fish passage, spans the Sacramento River two miles southeast of Red Bluff on the Sacramento River in Tehama County. It is owned by the Bureau of Reclamation and operated and maintained by the Tehama-Colusa Canal Authority.

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Nimbus Dam

A part of the federal Central Valley Project, the Nimbus Dam and its after bay, Lake Natoma, are located 7 miles downstream of Folsom Dam on the American River.

The dam regulates American River flows. Other associated facilities are the Nimbus Powerplant, the Nimbus Salmon and Steelhead Hatchery and the Folsom South Canal. [see also Northern California Water Tours.]

Aquapedia background

Delta-Mendota Canal

Delta-Mendota Canal

The117-mile long Delta-Mendota Canal in central California delivers water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to the San Joaquin Valley. It is part of the Central Valley Project.

Aquapedia background

Contra Costa Canal

Construction began in 1937 to build the Contra Costa Canal, the first part of the federal Central Valley Project.  The Contra Costa Canal runs from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, where it draws its water near Knightsen, to the eastern and central parts of Contra Costa County. It is about 30 miles from San Francisco.

Aquapedia background Layperson's Guide to the Central Valley Project

Central Valley Project Improvement Act

Central Valley Project Improvement Act

The Central Valley Project Improvement Act supports a major federal effort to store and transport water in California’s Central Valley.

The 1992 Act changed operations of Central Valley Project; a major project that addresses flooding, storage and irrigation issues in the valley [see also Central Valley Project].

Aquapedia background Layperson's Guide to the Central Valley Project

Central Valley Project

Central Valley Project

Birthed in part by a long-ago federal effort to create farmland, today the Central Valley Project is one of the largest water and transport systems in the world. In years of normal precipitation, it stores and distributes about 20 percent of the state’s developed water through its massive system of reservoirs and canals.

Aquapedia background

C.W. Bill Jones Pumping Plant

The C.W. Bill Jones Pumping Plant (formerly known as the Tracy Pumping Plant) sits at the head of the 117-mile long Delta-Mendota Canal.

Completed in 1951, the canal begins near Tracy, Calif. and follows the Coast Range south, providing irrigation water to the west side of the San Joaquin Valley along its route and terminating at Mendota Pool.

Western Water Magazine

Meeting the Co-equal Goals? The Bay Delta Conservation Plan
May/June 2013

This issue of Western Water looks at the BDCP and the Coalition to Support Delta Projects, issues that are aimed at improving the health and safety of the Delta while solidifying California’s long-term water supply reliability.

Western Water Magazine

Viewing Water with a Wide Angle Lens: A Roundtable Discussion
January/February 2013

This printed issue of Western Water features a roundtable discussion with Anthony Saracino, a water resources consultant; Martha Davis, executive manager of policy development with the Inland Empire Utilities Agency and senior policy advisor to the Delta Stewardship Council; Stuart Leavenworth, editorial page editor of The Sacramento Bee and Ellen Hanak, co-director of research and senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California.

Western Water Magazine

How Much Water Does the Delta Need?
July/August 2012

This printed issue of Western Water examines the issues associated with the State Water Board’s proposed revision of the water quality Bay-Delta Plan, most notably the question of whether additional flows are needed for the system, and how they might be provided.

Western Water Magazine

Whose Water Is It? Area of Origin Water Rights
March/April 2010

This printed issue of Western Water examines the area of origin laws, what they mean to those who claim their protections and the possible implications of the Tehama Colusa Canal Authority’s lawsuit against the Bureau of Reclamation.

Western Water Magazine

Delta Conveyance: The Debate Continues
March/April 2009

This printed issue of Western Water provides an overview of the idea of a dual conveyance facility, including questions surrounding its cost, operation and governance

Western Water Magazine

Making a Future for Fish: Preserving and Restoring Native Salmon and Trout
January/February 2009

This printed copy of Western Water examines the native salmon and trout dilemma – the extent of the crisis, its potential impact on water deliveries and the lengths to which combined efforts can help restore threatened and endangered species.

Western Water Magazine

Dealing with the ‘D’ Word: The Response to Drought
November/December 2008

This printed copy of Western Water examines California’s drought – its impact on water users in the urban and agricultural sector and the steps being taken to prepare for another dry year should it arrive.

Western Water Magazine

Shaping the West: 100 Years of Reclamation Water
May/June 2002

The Reclamation Act of 1902, which could arguably be described as a progression of the credo, Manifest Destiny, transformed the West. This issue of Western Water provides a glimpse of the past 100 years of the Reclamation Act, from the early visionaries who sought to turn the arid West into productive farmland, to the modern day task of providing a limited amount of water to homes, farms and the environment. Included are discussions of various Bureau projects and what the next century may bring in terms of challenges and success.