Transcript for The Great Web of Water, segment 10 of 12


The CVP's San Luis Canal leaves O'Neil Forebay and flows south for one hundred two miles. The canal and the Dos Amigos Pumping Station are shared operations. The CVP water moves to the Pleasant Valley Pumping Plant and the Coalinga Canal. The state aqueduct continues south. The CVP also brings vital irrigation water to Westlands Water District, a half million acres threatened by falling well levels and alkali salts. Surface irrigation water to flush these salts away is essential first aid for this rich soil.

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District landowners invest in leveling the land and in on-farm irrigation systems. Most important to the health of the soil, a vast San Luis drain system will carry off the unwanted salts.

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As a result, choice crops like seed alfalfa replace limited salt-tolerant crops of the past. Higher value crops - grapes, fruit - will follow. With CVP water comes Federal Reclamation Law. The water can be used only on small holdings. This produces expanded opportunity for small farmers. Larry Turnquist of Tranquility in the San Joaquin Valley.

Without the Central Valley Project, this farm wouldn't be here. Basically due to the reclamation law that's seventy-eight years old that was enacted in nineteen oh two. Presented opportunities for young and new growers as water came to new and developed areas to come in and buy small parcels of land, a hundred and sixty acres per person. My wife and I own three hundred and twenty acres. We are probably looking at a million to a million and a half dollars. Now don't misunderstand. Those aren't all my dollars. My banker and I have a very firm understanding as to how much is his and how much are mine. I guess you got to call it a challenge.

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