The California delta is one of the largest sources of water for the world’s 8th largest economy. The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta has been called the heart of California’s water system. Today we’re looking at the delta as a water supply. The State Water Project is the nation’s largest state-built water delivery system, consisting of more than 700 miles of canals, reservoirs, pumping stations and power plants.
Behind the Oroville dam, the tallest dam in the nation, the Lake Oroville Reservoir can store up to 3.5 million acre feet of water. From Oroville, water flows down the Feather River to the Sacramento River and into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
The Banks plant near Tracy, CA, is one of two huge Delta pumping facilities. There are 11 pumping units pumping water into the first reach of the California Aqueduct. It travels almost 7,000 cubic feet per second, uphill, to the Aqueduct. The California Aqueduct begins at the Banks Plant. The Aqueduct carries water more than 400 miles, all the way to Los Angeles, delivering water ultimately to over 25 million people and providing water for irrigation for 750,000 acres.
Capital Public Radio’s broadcast and pictures of the California water project can be seen here.