The Central Valley Project, California


The water transfer scheme chosen is “The Central Valley Project in California, (USA) and it is water transfer project introduced by federal government to manager water problems faced by the population of California’ s Central Valley. It was launched in 1933 and had an aim to provide water for irrigation and public use to majority of population of California Central Valley. A water transfer scheme is important as it allows supply of water to a place with water shortage and water can be outsourced from rivers. According to (WWF,2017) “Water transfer schemes attempt to make up for water shortages by constructing elaborate systems of canals, pipes, and dredging over long distances to convey water from one river basin (the donor basin) to another (the recipient basin)”. In The Central Valley Project in California the water was transported from the water – rich northern gulf states to the California water scarce region by means of a water reservoir.

The Central Valley Project, California water share scheme has raised controversies among environmentalist and locals due to its impact on the environment. The project has had negative impact on the irrigation grounds and the natural habitat surrounding it.   According to (Water Education Foundation, 2015) “For example, CVP plans initially included a canal to collect irrigation drainage from west side farms, but the drain was never completed. The farmers around the region had been avoiding the salt built up in the soil and shallow ground water but it failed due to lack of underground drainage facilities. The salt drainage consists of selenium which is toxic to the insects and birds when it is concentrated in a drainage facility or an evaporation pond. This has raised concern among environmentalist and locals.

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 However, the locals were highly benefited from this particular water share scheme According to (Austin,2015) “The Central Valley Project delivers irrigation water to an area spanning the length of the Central Valley from Shasta Reservoir to Kern County; Central Valley Project water also serves water for urban uses in the Bay Area and parts of the Central Valley. From the government perspective, the project was a major asset to the economy of California as it provided water for the most agricultural purpose as it was the leading farming state in America. In the website (U.S. Department of Interior) states that “The California Department of Food and Agriculture reported in its latest California Agricultural Highlights publication that farm production in the state totals more than $36 billion annually. About a third of that production, or about $12 billion, came from the Central Valley”.

The Central Valley Project, California has been successful because it met the purpose for which it was constructed. The California Valley Project underwent changes according to the Central Valley Improvement Act introduced by the government and it included 800,000 acre-feet of water dedicated to fish and wildlife annually with water supply to people outside CVP service area and strived to sustain the anadromous fish population. The major focus of the improvement plan was the natural habitat restoration and enhancement and water and land acquisitions. The real purpose of the California Valley Project is met but there are some major adverse consequences to this water share scheme and it is environmental concern which cannot be rejected.

From a personal perspective, it can be said that California Valley Project is successful as it completed its target of water supply to water scarce California regions. Also, to a certain extend the project ensured the sustainability of environment by protecting the natural habitat. However, I believe that the major threat caused by the project to the salmon population of the regions is a fact to be considered. Despite the advantages of the CVP, there had been threat to the fish population in four major California rivers and the riparian zones were reduced along with the Wetlands. This means the government failed to conduct a research on the effect of the water scheme project on the natural resource and geographical areas. Also, many historical sites and Native American tribal regions were flooded due to the CVP. 

The CVP is a government project but the governmental official failed to study the project from all dimensions.  The intensive irrigation contaminated the ground water and polluted the rivers and the The Central Valley Project Improvement Act which is imposed in 1992, had the purpose of solving certain issue with programs like the Refuge Water Supply Program but the ecosystem is fragile and need serious reconsideration from the part of government. A water share scheme is a project which need to be established by considering many factors, however it can have understood that the government completely ignored the environmental havoc which it would generate when the project comes in operation. A serious action is needed from the part of government to restore the environmental havocs created by CVP. In future it would be necessary for the government to look at socio economic development as well environmental development of a region before undertaking a project.

Did you like this sample?
  1. Austin, C. M. (2015). The Central Valley Project.
  2. U.S. Department of Interior, . (2013). Mid-Pacific Region Highlights. 
  3. WWF,. (2017). Water transfers between river basins.
  4. Water Education Foundation, . (2017). Central Valley Project. 
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