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Where CA Water Comes From

Where Does California’s Water Come From?

California receives 75 percent of its rain and snow in the watersheds north of Sacramento. At the heart of California’s water system is the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, where the state’s two mighty rivers join and find their way to sea. The Delta is also the export pool of the State Water Project, pumping water to millions of people in the San Francisco Bay Area, San Joaquin Valley, Central Coast, and Southern California.

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California State Water Project

The California State Water Project, an engineering marvel, is a water storage and delivery system of reservoirs, aqueducts, power plants and pumping plants extending more than 700 miles—2/3 the length of California. Its purpose and benefits include:

  • Supplying water to more than 27 million people in California and irrigates about 750,000 acres of farmland throughout the state
  • Managing water supply delivery, flood control and storage
  • Producing a major source of hydroelectric power for the State’s power grid
  • Providing fish and wildlife habitat
  • Sustaining the environmental health of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta
  • Providing recreational opportunities

For more information about the State Water Project, view the video from the Department of Water Resources here.

State Water Supply Contracts

The Department of Water Resources administers long-term water supply contracts to 29 local water agencies for water service from the State Water Project. These water supply contracts are central to the State Water Project’s construction and operation. In return for state financing, construction, operation and maintenance of Project facilities, the agencies contractually agree to repay all associated State Water Project capital and operating costs.

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Water Curriculum

Water 101

The California Department of Water Resources offers a wealth of educational content, including worksheets, activity books, posters, videos and curriculum guides to classroom teachers, homeschoolers and nonformal educators. Content is available in hard copy and electronically.

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