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California Irrigation Map

Interesting broadside illustrating the plans for the Central Valley Project, California's massive irrigation project which moved water from Shasta Dam and Friant Dam to the Central Valley.

The map identifies the pumping systems, transmission lines and areas benefited by this massive transfer of water from northernmost California to the Central Valley, along with early illustrations of the construction of the dams, etc.

In 1873, Barton S. Alexander completed a report for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that was the first attempt at creating a Central Valley Project as a means of delivering water from Northern California to the Central Valley. In 1904, the Bureau of Reclamation (then the Reclamation Service) first became interested in creating such a water project, but did not get further involved until a series of droughts and related disasters occurred in the early 1920s.

The State of California passed the Central Valley Project Act in 1933, which authorized Reclamation to sell revenue bonds in order to raise about $170 million for the project. Unfortunately, because of insufficient money in the state's treasury and the coincidence with the Great Depression, California turned to the national government for funding to build the project. This resulted in several transfers of the project between California and the federal government, and between Reclamation and the Army Corps of Engineers.

The first dams and canals of the project started going up in the late 1930s, and the last facilities were completed in the early 1970s.