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Mid-Pacific Region Highlights

Introduction/Overview

static image:  map of the regional offices
Mid-Pacific Region Water Projects

Eleven Water Projects Serve a Diverse Region

The Mid-Pacific Region stands out for many reasons. It includes parts of southern Oregon, western Nevada and California – a major food producer for the world, the most populous state in the nation, and a place with treasured natural resources.

With a complex system of 11 projects, the Region provides water for agricultural, municipal, industrial and environmental purposes. It is a complex process, driven by numerous factors, including hydrology, regulations, court decisions, environmental considerations, operational limits, input from other agencies and organizations, and a changing climate.

The Region’s multi-purpose network of dams, reservoirs, canals, hydroelectric powerplants and other facilities include the Central Valley Project, one of the world’s largest and best-known systems for storing and delivering water. Reclamation’s Shasta Dam forms the CVP’s largest reservoir, near Mount Shasta in Northern California.

interactive image:  photo of the Mount Shasta in Northern California; taken by Sheri Harral; click for larger photo
Mount Shasta in Northern California as shown in an employee photo contest picture taken by Sheri Harral.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

interactive image:  Shasta Dam and Reservoir in Northern California are essential to the Central Valley Project; click for larger photo
Shasta Dam and Reservoir in Northern California are essential to the Central Valley Project.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Central Valley Project

Overview

The Central Valley Project extends 400 miles from the Cascade Range in the north to the Tehachapi Mountains near Bakersfield in the south. The CVP’s complex, multi-purpose network of dams, reservoirs, canals, hydroelectric powerplants and other facilities across northern and central California serve agriculture, municipal and industrial needs, and fish and wildlife in the semi-arid Central Valley.

The project is a major asset to California’s economy, providing water for most of the top agricultural producing counties in the nation’s leading farm state. The California Department of Food and Agriculture reported in its latest California Agricultural Highlights publication that farm production in the state totals more than $36 billion annually. Approximately a third of that production, or about $12 billion, came from the Central Valley.

CVP Flood Control Value
A critical role for the CVP is providing flood protection for northern California and its Central Valley, which is essential as a food source to the nation and home to millions of people. Generally, reservoirs offer flexibility by temporarily storing large flows of water that would have been damaging if not managed, and allowing gradual water release rates that downstream channels can more easily absorb. This process also partially lowers the reservoirs so the cycle can be repeated for coming storms.

The project provides flood protection for the Central Valley and supplies domestic and industrial water in the valley, as well as to major urban centers in the Greater Sacramento and San Francisco Bay areas.

The project also provides water to restore and protect fish and wildlife, and to enhance water quality. It is a major source of water for 19 National Wildlife Refuges. Five of the refuges are located in the Sacramento Valley and 14 are in the San Joaquin Valley.

Construction of major CVP facilities began in 1938 with breaking of ground for Shasta Dam on the Sacramento River near Redding in Northern California. Over the next five decades, the CVP was expanded into a system of 20 dams and reservoirs that together can hold nearly 12 million acre-feet. The CVP includes 500 miles of canals and aqueducts and 11 hydroelectric powerplants. In Sacramento, the Central Valley Operations Office jointly controls, with the California Department of Water Resources, the CVP and its companion, the State Water Project.

interactive image:  Shasta Dam and Reservoir; click for larger photo
interactive image:  San Luis Dam and Reservoir; click for larger photo
interactive image:  New Melones Dam and Reservoir; click for larger photo
Shasta Dam and Reservoir San Luis Dam and Reservoir New Melones Dam and Reservoir
interactive image:  photo - Trinity Dam and Reservoir; click for larger photo
interactive image:  photo - Folsom Dam and Reservoir; click for larger photo
interactive image:  Photo - Friant Dam and Friant-Kern Canal; click for larger photo
Trinity Dam and Reservoir Folsom Dam and Reservoir Friant Dam and Friant-Kern Canal

interactive image:  Shasta Dam and Reservoir in Northern California are essential to the Central Valley Project; click for larger photo
California’s Central Valley Project

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Major CVP Dams and Reservoirs
Dam and Reservoir River System Storage Capacity
(Acre-Feet)
Shasta Dam and Reservoir
Sacramento
4,552,000
Trinity Dam and Reservoir
Trinity
2,448,000
Folsom Dam and Reservoir
American
977,000
New Melones Dam and Reservoir
Stanislaus
2,420,000
Friant Dam and Millerton Reservoir
San Joaquin
520,000
San Luis Dam and Reservoir
Offstream Storage
966,000
(Federal share)

Wet Year

Above-average precipitation during the 2011 Water Year improved hydrological conditions throughout the Region, including California’s Central Valley Project. Precipitation at eight key stations in Northern California was about 145 percent of the historic seasonal average. For the Friant Division, in the San Joaquin Valley, the precipitation total for the Huntington Lake station was 151 percent of the historic seasonal average.

The improved hydrology and opportunities to exercise CVP operational flexibility influenced water supply availability, allowing a 100 percent allocation for all CVP water contractors, except for the South-of-Delta agricultural water service contractors, who were allocated 80 percent of their more than 1.9 million acre-feet contracted water supply. This 80 percent represented an increase of 30 percentage points from the initial allocation in February 2011 and 35 percentage points above their final allocation for 2010.

The CVP’s Friant Division contractors’ allocations, which come from Millerton Reservoir on the upper San Joaquin River, was 100 percent of “Class 1” water (800,000 acre-feet) and 20 percent of the contracted supply of 1.4 million acre-feet of “Class 2” water (280,000 acre-feet). The first 800,000 acre-feet of water supply is considered Class 1 and any remaining water is considered Class 2. Class 1 is the supply of water in Millerton Reservoir which is available for delivery as a dependable supply. Class 2 water is made available, subject to contingencies, in addition to the supply of Class 1 water.

Going into the 2012 Water Year (October 1, 2010 to September 30, 2011), WY 2011 carryover storage in the CVP was 9.3 million acre-feet, the third highest carryover storage on record, with six key reservoirs at 78 percent of capacity--20 percentage points above the 15-year carryover average of 58 percent and significantly higher than the WY 2010 carryover.

The measurement of total reservoir storage was the combined amount of water remaining at the end of WY 2011 in Shasta, Trinity, Folsom, New Melones and Millerton reservoirs and the federal share of the joint federal-state San Luis Reservoir.

CVP Reservoir Capacities and End of Water Year 2011 Storage In Million Acre-feet
Reservoirs Annual Storage Comparisons 15-Year Average Storage
1996-2011
CVP Reservoirs and Capacities 2011 % of Capacity % of Average 2010 % of Capacity % of Average Average % of Capacity
Shasta, 4,552
3.3 73 124 3.3 73 124
2.7
59
New Melones, 2.42
2.1 85 128 1.3 53 81
1.6
66
Trinity, 2.448
2.2 89 135 1.6 65 100
1.6
65
Folsom, .977
.74 76 135 .62 63 113
.55
.56
Millerton, .52
.36 68 148 .25 48 104
.24
46
Federal San Luis, .966
.64 67 268 .37 38 154
.24
24
Total, 11.8
9.3 78 135 7.4 63 107
6.9
58

Comparison of Previous End-of-Year Storage
Million Acre-Feet
2011
2010
2009
2008
2007
1997 (Lowest Carryover)
9.3
7.4
4.8 4.1 5.5
1.5

CVP Facilities

Central Valley Project facilities include reservoirs on several rivers, including the Trinity, Sacramento, American, Stanislaus and San Joaquin rivers.

Beginning in Northern California, water from the Trinity River is stored in Trinity Lake, Lewiston Lake and Whiskeytown Reservoir, then diverted through a system of tunnels and powerplants into the Sacramento River for the Central Valley. In addition to the Trinity system, water is stored in two major facilities -- Shasta and Folsom reservoirs. Water from these reservoirs, and others operated by the State Water Project and local water rights holders, flows into the Sacramento River. Some CVP contractors divert water directly from, or immediately below, the dams’ outlets. Other CVP contractors, Sacramento River water rights contractors, and water rights holders divert water directly from the Sacramento and American rivers.

The Sacramento River carries water to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta where the C.W. “Bill” Jones Pumping Plant at the southern end of the Delta lifts water into the Delta-Mendota Canal. The canal delivers water to CVP contractors and exchange contractors on the San Joaquin River and water rights contractors on the Mendota Pool. The CVP water is also conveyed to the San Luis Reservoir for deliveries to CVP contractors through the San Luis Canal. Water from the San Luis Reservoir is also conveyed through the Pacheco Tunnel to CVP contractors in Santa Clara and San Benito counties. Throughout the project, CVP canals also deliver water to wildlife refuges.

Water is also delivered to wildlife refuges in accordance with programs to restore and protect wildlife.
The CVP delivers water from Friant Dam on the San Joaquin River to CVP contractors serviced by the Madera and Friant-Kern canals. Water is stored in New Melones Reservoir for water rights holders in the Stanislaus River watershed and CVP contractors in the northern San Joaquin Valley.

The CVP and the separate State Water Project both convey water in the Sacramento River and the Delta. The CVP reservoir operations are coordinated to obtain maximum yields and deliver water into the main river channels and canals of the project in the most efficient and environmentally sensitive manner.
CVP irrigation and municipal water is delivered in accordance with long-term contracts negotiated with irrigation districts, cities, and other users. Water is also delivered to wildlife refuges in accordance with programs to restore and protect wildlife.

CVP Divisions and Units

The complex operations of the CVP are organized into divisions and units:

More information: http://www.usbr.gov/projects/Project.jsp?proj_Name=Central+Valley+Project.

Major CVP Dams and Reservoirs
Canal Length (miles) Capacity (cubic feet per second)
Corning
  21.0
    500
Tehama-Colusa
110.9
 2,530
Contra Costa
  47.7
    350
Folsom South
  26.7
 3,500
Delta-Mendota
117.0
 4,600
Friant-Kern
151.8
 5,000
Madera
  35.9  1,250
Coalinga
  11.6   1,100
San Luis (Joint Federal/State)
102.5 13,100

CVP’s Tracy Fish Collection Facility

interactive image:  photo of the tracy fish collection facility
The Tracy Fish Collection Facility protects fish natural to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta from the nearby C.W. “Bill” Jones Pumping Plant.

The Tracy Fish Collection Facility is a system of louvers, bypasses and holding tanks operated to protect and salvage fish from the operations of the nearby C.W. “Bill” Jones Pumping Plant.

The facility collects Delta fish species as a primary mitigation feature for the pumping plant and returns them to the Delta. Threadfin shad, striped bass, and American shad made up the bulk of the collection. There are about 50 species of fish collected at the facility, including listed species such as the Delta smelt, winter-run and spring-run Chinook salmon, steelhead and green sturgeon.

CVP’s Delta Pumping Plant

The C.W. “Bill” Jones Pumping Plant at the southern end of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta lifts water into the Delta-Mendota Canal. The plant can pump 4,300 cubic feet per second, which is about 2 million gallons per minute or 8,500 acre-feet per day. The canal delivers water to CVP water service contractors, exchange contractors, and wildlife refuges. The CVP water is also conveyed with pumping units to the San Luis Reservoir for deliveries to CVP contractors through the San Luis Canal.

CVP’s Water Deliveries

The CVP’s water comes from rain and runoff from the Sierra Nevada Mountains snowpack flowing into reservoirs. Releases from dams pass through rivers and canals to the Central Valley, serving contractors in the northern half, referred to as the Sacramento Valley, and the southern half, known as the San Joaquin Valley.

Providing CVP water for agricultural, municipal and industrial, and environmental purposes is a complex process, driven by numerous factors, including hydrology, regulations, court decisions, environmental considerations, input from other agencies and organizations, and operational limitations.

The CVP has long-term agreements to supply water to more than 250 contractors in 29 of California’s 58 counties. Deliveries by the CVP include providing an annual average of 5 million acre-feet of water for farms; 600,000 acre-feet of water for municipal and industrial uses (enough water to supply about 2.5 million people for a year); and water for wildlife refuges and maintaining water quality in the Delta.

interactive image:  photo of the Almond orchard along the west San Joaquin Valley
Almond orchard along the west San Joaquin Valley.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CVP’s Agricultural Benefits in 2011

The CVP’s annual agricultural benefits can be measured at least two ways. Farm-related jobs totaled more than 210,000 in counties served by the CVP, according to the latest figures reported by the California Department of Employment Development. In addition, the California Department of Food and Agriculture reported the following agricultural production on acreage served by the CVP:

CVP’s Support of Wildlife Refuges

The CVP, under terms of the Central Valley Project Improvement Act, delivers water for 19 wildlife refuges in the Sacramento and Joaquin valleys. The refuges provide wetlands habitat, and are essential resting and feeding areas for migratory birds on the Pacific Flyway.

In the Sacramento Valley, there are five refuges: the Sacramento, Delevan, Colusa and Sutter national wildlife refuges, and the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area.

The San Joaquin Valley refuges total 14. There are seven in the San Luis National Wildlife Refuge Complex, the San Luis, West Bear Creek, East Bear Creek, Freitas and Kesterson units, the Merced National Wildlife Refuge, and the Los Banos Wildlife Area; in the North Grasslands Wildlife Area Complex, there are five refuges, the China Island and Salt Slough units, the Mendota and Volta wildlife areas, and the Grasslands Resource Conservation District; and in the Tulare Lake Basin, there are two refuges, the Kern and Pixley national wildlife refuges.

CVP Hydroelectric Power Production and Benefits

There are 11 hydroelectric powerplants in the CVP with a combined capacity of about 2,100 megawatts. A megawatt is enough to supply nearly 1,000 homes.

CVP powerplants produce about 4.5 million megawatt hours in an average water year. (A megawatt hour is continuous production of one megawatt over an hour.) Because of the wet winter, high runoffs and high reservoir levels, by the end of Fiscal Year 2011, the CVP produced more than 5 million MWh.

About a third of the electricity generated by the CVP is used for pumping water throughout the project. The rest is made available to the Western Area Power Administration for sale and distribution in the western United States.

CVP Powerplants and Capacities (in megawatts)
Northern California Area Office (NCAO)
Shasta Dam
710 MW
Trinity Dam
140 MW
Judge Francis Carr
154 MW
Spring Creek
180 MW
Keswick Dam
105 MW
Lewiston Dam
350 MW
Central California Area Office (CCAO)
Folsom Dam
207 MW
Nimbus Dam
17 MW
New Melones Dam
383 MW
South-Central California Area Office (SCCAO)
O'Neill
14.4 MW
San Luis
202 MW

Other California Projects

Northern California

Orland

The Orland Project, which is located in the Sacramento Valley, about 100 miles north of Sacramento, collects runoff from the eastern Coast Range. The project provides irrigation water to about 20,000 acres of farmland. The project is comprised of East Park Dam on Little Stony Creek, and Stony Gorge Dam on Stony Creek. It also includes Rainbow and Northside diversion dams.

Central California

Solano

The Solano Project, which is located northeast of San Francisco Bay on Putah Creek, collects runoff from the eastern Coast Range. The project provides irrigation water to about 95,000 acres of farmland and municipal and industrial water to the cities of Vallejo, Vacaville, Fairfield, Benicia and Suisun. The project is comprised of Lake Berryessa, behind Monticello Dam. It also includes Putah Diversion Dam, Putah South Canal, Green Valley Conduit and Terminal Dam and Reservoir.

Three California Seacoast Projects: Capturing Seasonal Floodwaters for Beneficial Uses

Cachuma

The Cachuma Project is located near Santa Barbara on the Santa Ynez River. The project provides irrigation water for about 35,000 acres of farmlands and municipal and industrial water for the cities of Santa Barbara, Goleta, Montecito and Carpinteria. The project is comprised of Lake Cachuma behind Bradbury Dam, Lauro Dam and Reservoir, Ortega Dam and Reservoir, Carpinteria Dam and Reservoir, Glen Anne Dam and Reservoir, Tecolote Tunnel, South Coast Conduit and Sheffield Tunnel.

interactive image:  photo of East Park Dam, Northern California, Orland; click for larger photo
interactive image:  photo Monticello Dam with Glory Hole Spillway, Central California, Solano; click for larger photo
interactive image:  photo - Bradbury Dam, Three California Seacoast Projects, Cachuma; click for larger photo
East Park Dam, Northern California, Orland Monticello Dam, with Glory Hole Spillway, Central California, Solano Bradbury Dam, Three California Seacost, Cachuma

static image:  Lahontan Basin map
Lahontan Basin map

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Santa Maria

The Santa Maria Project is located about 150 miles northwest of Los Angeles on the Cuyama River. The project provides irrigation water for about 35,000 acres of farmland. It is comprised of Twitchell Dam and Reservoir.

Ventura River

The Ventura River Project is located about 60 miles northwest of Los Angeles on the Ventura River. The project provides irrigation water to about 7,000 acres of farmland and supplies water to about 60,000 municipal and industrial users. It is comprised of Casitas Dam and Reservoir, Robles Diversion Dam and Fish Passage Facility, and Robles-Casitas Canal.

Nevada Projects

Newlands

The Newlands Project is located in western Nevada and the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. The project provides irrigation water from the Truckee and Carson rivers for about 57,000 acres of farmland in the Lahontan Valley, near Fallon and Fernley, in western Nevada. The project also serves the Pyramid Lake Paiute Indian Tribe. It is comprised of the Lahontan Dam and Reservoir, Lake Tahoe Dam, Derby Diversion Dam, Truckee Canal and Carson River Diversion Dam.

Washoe

The Washoe Project is located in west-central Nevada and eastern California. The project provides water from the Truckee and lower Carson rivers to benefit fish and wildlife. It is comprised of Prosser Creek Dam and Reservoir, Stampede Dam and Reservoir, Marble Bluff Dam and Pyramid Lake Fishway.

Truckee

The Truckee Storage Project is located in western Nevada on the Little Truckee River. The project provides irrigation water for about 29,000 acres of farmland in Truckee Meadows, surrounding Reno and Sparks. It is comprised of Boca Dam and Reservoir.

Humboldt

The Humboldt Project is located in northwestern Nevada, near Lovelock, on the Humboldt River. The project provides irrigation water for about 45,000 acres of farmland. It is comprised of the Rye Patch Dam and Reservoir.

static image:  Twitchell Dam and Reservoir, Santa Maria
interactive image:  Casitas Dam and Reservoir, Ventura River; click for larger photo
interactive image:  Lahontan Dam and Reservoir, Nevada Projects, Newlands; click for larger photo
Twitchell Dam and Reservoir, Other California Projects, Santa Maria Casitas Dam and Reservoir, Other California Projects, Ventura River Lahontan Dam and Reservoir, Nevada Projects, Newlands
interactive image:  photo - Trinity Dam and Reservoir; click for larger photo
interactive image:  photo - Folsom Dam and Reservoir; click for larger photo
interactive image:  Photo - Rye Patch Dam and Reservoir, Nevada projects, Humboldt; click for larger photo
Prosser Creek Dam and Reservoir, Nevada Projects, Washoe Boca Dam and Reservoir, Nevada Projects, Truckee Rye Patch Dam and Reservoir, Nevada Projects, Humboldt

Oregon Projects

Klamath

interactive image:  photo of the tracy fish collection facility

Link River Dam

The Klamath Project is located in southern Oregon and northern California. The project provides water from the Klamath River and Lost River for irrigation of about 210,000 acres of farmland. It is comprised of Clear Lake Dam and Reservoir, Gerber Dam and Reservoir, Link River Dam, Lost River Diversion Dam, Anderson-Rose Diversion Dam, Malone Diversion Dam, Miller Diversion Dam, Tule Lake Tunnel and Klamath Straits Drain.

 


Wildlife Refuges
The Region’s Oregon and Nevada water projects support numerous wildlife refuges. The Klamath Project provides water to four National Wildlife Refuges: Lower Klamath, Tule Lake, and Clear Lake Refuges in California; and Upper Klamath Refuge in southern Oregon. The Nevada projects provide water to Stillwater and Fallon National Wildlife Refuges. More information: http://www.usbr.gov/recreation/wildlife.html

 

 

 

Recreation

The Region has more than 60 recreation areas, including reservoirs, campgrounds, wildlife refuges, hiking trails and fish hatcheries.

The facilities provide a wide range of recreation opportunities such as boating, camping, picnicking, horseback riding, hiking, fishing, biking, rock climbing, sightseeing and viewing of wildlife.

Their locations range from areas near cities to rugged, remote sites. Some are managed by the Region; others by federal, state and local government partners, among them, the California Department of Parks and Recreation, the Nevada Division of State Parks, the California Department of Fish and Game, and the U.S. Forest Service.

The Region directly manages six areas:

The Region’s other major recreational sites include:

The Region’s recreational and educational offerings include the American River Water Education Center near Folsom Lake in Central California. The center’s mission is to increase the public’s knowledge of the American River watershed -- both the natural features and human interactions within the watershed. The center shows individuals how they can actively participate in resource conservation and informs them about Folsom Dam’s multiple roles in meeting water needs for agriculture, cities and industries, and the environment.

More information: www.recreation.gov

interactive image:  water skiing on the Boca Reservoir near Reno, Nevada; click for larger photo
Water skiing on the Boca Reservoir near Reno, Nevada

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 3, 2012