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Central Valley Project

The federal Central Valley Project (CVP) is a long-term plan for the use of the water of the Sacramento River basin in the north for the benefit of the San Francisco Bay Area, the farmlands of the San Joaquin Valley, and other metropolitan areas in the south. The project was undertaken by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in 1935.

The CVP's concerns are flood control; improvement of navigation on Central Valley rivers; the development of hydroelectric power, irrigation, and municipal and industrial water supply; protection of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta from seawater encroachment; and the protection and enhancement of fish and wildlife.

Shasta and Keswick dams on the Sacramento River, and Friant Dam, on the San Joaquin River, are all part of the CVP system.

Canals, such as the Friant-Kern, the Madera, the Delta Cross Channel (which uses Sacramento water to fight soil salinity in the delta), and the Delta-Mendota, are used to transport water throughout the valley. Among the hydroelectric dams are San Luis, Spring Creek, Judge Francis Carr, and Auburn. Folsom Dam is one of the several units constructed in the valley by the U.S. Corps of Engineers.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District’s imported CVP water comes from the Tracy pumping plant located in the Southern Delta, through the Delta Mendota Canal to San Luis Reservoir, and through the San Felipe Project into Santa Clara County.

The district is contracted to receive 152,500 acre-feet per year. (One acre-foot is approximately the amount of water used by two families of five in one year.)