A well-illustrated Central Valley California water-management system report, including many maps, charts, graphs, and original photographs.

Central Valley Project. Annual History for 1949. Delta District.


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SKU: NL-01679 Categories: ,
Date: August 1, 1950
Place: Stockton, CA
Dimensions: 4to, 11 x 8 inches
Condition Rating: VG+


This comprehensive state government report assesses the technical viability of an elaborate water management system to transport potable water from the Sierras and other inland sources through the depression of Central Valley and to the large population centers along the coast. The current means by which the inhabitants of the Bay Area are supplied with water was only envisioned in the 1930s and 40s and only fully constructed during the 1950s. The water management system of Northern California is an elaborate configuration of dams, pipes, and pumps, and this government report addresses all of the challenges and technical aspects that such complicated hydrological infrastructure entails.

As reflected in the report’s contents, the idea was to supply the coastal hubs with drinking water and transform Central Valley into a high-yield agricultural zone through intensive irrigation and cultivation. Anyone familiar with Central Valley today will know that most of these initiatives have been a tremendous success from an economic and production perspective. On the other hand, ecological diversity and sustainability have suffered from Central Valley’s development into the current agricultural zone. The report is comprehensive and comprises no less than 154 pages, including several color-coded maps showing the planned water management systems and covering aspects such as soil quality and regional catchment. In addition to the maps, the report contains many photographs of the sections under implementation or construction at the time.

In sum, this is an exciting and highly technical document from the Post-WWII era, during which San Francisco and northern California once again boomed both financially and demographically. The report reflects not only the times in which it was created but an example of how America we know today builds on a combination of grit and ingenuity.


United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation

United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation is a federal agency under the U.S. Department of the Interior that oversees water resource management. It is particularly responsible for the oversight and operation of the diversion, delivery, and storage systems that the Bureau of Reclamation built throughout the western United States. The primary installations that have been constructed (and are run) by the Bureau of Reclamation relate to systems of irrigation, water supply, and hydroelectric power generation.

Condition Description

154 pages. Two-post library cloth portfolio; minor signs of age.