For almost a century, water providers and food producers in California have engaged in one of history’s most ambitious industrial enterprises, focused on one objective – moving water where it does not go on its own.
California’s 80-year-old system of canals – the State Water Project and the federally financed Central Valley Water Project — stitch together an audacious hydrological network that comprises 1,200 miles of aqueducts, canals, and pipelines. Collectively, both systems are capable of annually delivering from distant Sierra Nevada snowfields and streams about 11 million acre feet – 3.6 trillion gallons – of water for agricultural, municipal, and industrial use.
This map was created by graphic designer Erin Aigner, with research assistance from Aubrey Ann Parker and Brett Walton of Circle of Blue and Jeremy Miller, a California-based freelance journalist. Choke Point: Index , an investigation into the precarious condition of water in America’s farm regions, is produced in collaboration with Google Research, Qlikview, and the Columbia Water Center, with financial support from the Rockefeller Foundation. Contact Brett Walton