Mid-Pacific Region Water Delivery Projects
Eleven Water Projects Serve a Diverse Region
The Mid-Pacific Region encompasses 11 water projects, ranging from relatively small to among the largest in the nation. The unique and essential projects, as shown on the map, are spread across southern Oregon, western Nevada and northern California.
The Region’s projects provide water for agricultural, municipal, industrial and environmental purposes through complex processes, 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. It serves one of the most productive agricultural areas in the United States. Shasta Dam forms the CVP’s largest reservoir, near Mt. Shasta in Northern California.
Mid-Pacific Region Projects
The Central Valley Project
The Central Valley Project extends 400 miles, from the Cascade Range in northern California 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 2011-2012 report on California agriculture that farm production in the state totals about $37.5 billion annually. And at least a third of that production, or about $12.5 billion, came from the Central Valley.
The CVP 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 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 wildlife refuges. Five of the refuges are 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 project 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 and the California Department of Water Resources coordinate operations of the CVP and California’s companion water delivery system, the State Water Project.
CVP facilities include reservoirs on several major rivers, including the Trinity, Sacramento, American, Stanislaus and San Joaquin rivers.
In Northern California, Shasta Dam is situated on the Sacramento River. Nearby is Trinity Dam on the Trinity River. Water stored in Trinity Reservoir and smaller reservoirs is diverted through a system of tunnels and powerplants into the Sacramento River. Water from all these reservoirs, and those operated by the State Water Project, eventually flow into the Sacramento River.
To the south, the American River, below Folsom Dam and Reservoir, joins the Sacramento River. Some CVP contractors, water rights contractors and water rights holders divert water directly from the Sacramento and American rivers.
The Sacramento River and others carry 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.
CVP water is also conveyed to San Luis Reservoir for deliveries to project contractors through the San Luis Canal. Water from San Luis Reservoir is also conveyed through the Pacheco Tunnel to project contractors in Santa Clara and San Benito counties.
The CVP delivers water from Friant Dam on the San Joaquin River to project 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 convey water in the Sacramento River and the Delta. The project’s reservoir operations are coordinated to obtain maximum yields and deliver water into the main river channels and canals of the projects 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 the Central Valley Project Improvement Act and its programs to restore and protect wildlife.
Map of the Central Valley Project
CVP Divisions and Units
The complex operations of the CVP are organized into divisions and units. The Shasta Division in northern California includes Shasta Dam on the Sacramento River. The nearby Trinity Division diverts additional water into the Sacramento River. Other divisions include the Sacramento River Division; the Sacramento Canals Unit; and the American River Division, which includes Folsom Reservoir. The Delta Division includes the C.W.”Bill” Jones Pumping Plant and the Delta-Mendota and Contra Costa canals. The East Side Division, New Melones Unit includes New Melones Reservoir on the Stanislaus River in the San Joaquin Valley. The Friant Division includes Millerton Lake on the San Joaquin River. The West San Joaquin Division, San Luis Unit includes San Luis Reservoir. The central coastal portion of California is served by the San Felipe Division.
|Friant-Kern Canal in the San Joaquin Valley|
CVP Water Deliveries
The CVP’s water comes from rain and runoff from the Sierra Nevada 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.
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 in a normal year, 600,000 acre-feet of water for municipal and industrial uses (enough water to supply about 2.5 million people for a year); and about 1.2 million acre-feet of water for wildlife refuges and other environmental needs.
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.)
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)|
|San Luis||202 MW|
CVP’s Delta Pumping Plant
|The C.W. Jones Pumping Plant and the start of the Delta-Mendota Canal|
The C.W. “Bill” Jones Pumping Plant, near Tracy, Calif., at the southern end of the Delta, lifts water nearly 200 feet through 15-foot diameter pipes into the Delta-Mendota Canal. At full capacity, the plant can pump 4,600 cubic feet per second, which is 9,100 acre-feet per day.
The canal delivers water to CVP water service contractors, exchange contractors and wildlife refuges. The contractors provide agricultural and urban water service in the western San Joaquin Valley, and portions of San Benito and Santa Clara counties. 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 Tracy Fish Collection Facility
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 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.
Schematic of the Tracy Fish Collection Facility, where a major louver was replaced in 2013 at a cost of $4 million
|Processing of melons grown in the San Joaquin Valley|
CVP’s Agricultural Benefits
Based on a California Department of Food and Agriculture 2011-2012 report, the following agricultural production occurs annually on acreage served by the CVP:
- Acreage serviced, 3 million
- Principal crops, 24 million tons
- Field crops, 10 million tons
- Vegetable/melons, 9 million tons
- Fruit/nut crops, 5 million tons
- Largest producing counties include:
- Fresno: Grapes, almonds, poultry, dairy, tomatoes
- Tulare: Oranges, cattle, grapes, alfalfa, dairy
- Kern: Grapes, citrus, almonds, carrots, dairy
- Merced: Chickens, almonds, cattle, potatoes, dairy
- Stanislaus: Almonds, chickens, cattle, dairy
- San Joaquin: Grapes, walnuts, cherries, almonds, dairy
- Kings: Dairy, cotton, cattle, alfalfa, tomatoes
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 San Joaquin valleys. The refuges provide wetlands habitat, and are essential resting and feeding areas for migratory birds on the Pacific Flyway.
|A San Joaquin Valley wildlife refuge|
In the Sacramento Valley, there are five refuges: the Sacramento, Delevan, Colusa and Sutter national wildlife refuges, and the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area.
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.
Other California Projects
|Stony Gorge Dam in the Orland Project|
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.
|Monticello Dam in the Solano Project|
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|Prosser Dam in the Newlands Project||Derby Dam in the Newlands Project||Boca Dam in the Truckee Storage Project|
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.
|Lost River Diversion Dam in the Klamath Project||Gerber Dam in the Klamath Project|
Anderson Rose Diversion Dam in the Klamath Project
February 27, 2014