Transcript for The Great Web of Water, segment 11 of 12


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When farmers plant, they expect a harvest, and the Central Valley has a tremendous harvest to report. First, that essential crop, more than eight million acre feet of rain and snow delivered by the CVP to nearly thirty thousand farms and almost a hundred thirty thousand people directly engaged in farming.

These three million irrigated acres grow vast amounts of grain and forage for the beef steaks, the hamburgers, and the milkshakes of the world. That harvest includes one-third of all the tomatoes processed for the nation's salsa, soup, and pizza, and most of the garlic to flavor them.

Much of the lettuce in the U.S. salad bowl and forty-one percent of all its olives. Shaken from the trees, more than a quarter of the almonds, a fifth of the walnuts for the sundaes, cakes, and strudel.

Nearly two hundred million dollars in oranges and other citrus fruits for the Vitamin C, the diet pop, and the eye-opener in the morning, and the largest food harvest of all, the grape. Nearly half of those destined for the nation's table and its bottle come from the fertile union of the valley's sun, soil, and CVP water brought from the mountains.

Add to that most of the nectarines, a great share of other stone fruits, and almost half of all the cantaloupe.

Other big crops. Cotton - a half billion dollars worth for the T-shirts of the world, along with nearly a hundred thirty million dollars in choice medium grain rice. They help balance our international checkbook.

In all, farmers in the CVP service area send across sea, state, and nation nearly four billion dollars a year in food and fiber. For the first forty years of the project, the accumulated total is close to thirty billion dollars. The harvest includes jobs, growing, processing, managing, and moving the great harvest machine. CVP operations generate a two point five billion dollar addition to the valley's economy each year, one point five billion dollars of it in wages and other personal income.

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On top of that, new industry, growing markets for farm-based business, growing markets for local suppliers, and growing markets for manufacturers in other parts of the country, and homes for a growing population. Part of the valley's harvest is two billion kilowatt hours of electric power without burning a drop of oil and recreation, whether you like it in a crowd or a quiet cove. Water has also softened the impact on wildlife of man's rapidly changing world. In less than a half century, water has become commonplace where once it was rare. If, in making the great valley more productive, water has also helped make more beautiful, more human, then that is a harvest, too, part of the harvest of the great web of water, the Central Valley Project.

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