Running Dry: Explaining reservoirs’ importance in California

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California’s water supply can vary greatly from year to year to the need to manage what we get is a high priority in the Golden State.

The Central Valley Project was devised in 1933 as a way to manage water and transport it areas considered more water-rich to the more water-scarce areas in the Central Valley by a series of canals, aqueducts and pump plants.

Reservoirs play an important role in the project, feeding the canals that transport water from the far southern end of the valley.

The crown jewel of the system is Shasta Lake with a capacity of more than 4.5 million acre-feet of water. It’s the biggest reservoir in California

To get a sense of the size, consider that Folsom Lake has a capacity of fewer than 1 million acre-feet.

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