Download Full Text (9.1 MB)


California's water conveyance systems.


This report offers a thematic approach to the identification and evaluation of the major types of water conveyance systems found in California. In the past, canals were not always recognized as a type of cultural resource that might need study. Now there is increased awareness that canals and other water conveyance facilities can be historically significant. However, important water conveyance systems are frequently extensive and sometimes quite complex, while transportation project effects on them are typically limited to a small segment of the entire property. Under these circumstances, developing a basic historical context would allow researchers to work from a baseline of existing knowledge, thereby helping to achieve a suitable balance between the need for sufficient information and expenditure of a reasonable level of effort.

Because of California’s unique combination of natural resources, climate, topography, history, and development patterns, the state has an assortment of water conveyance systems unlike few if any other states. As a result, little guidance has been developed at a national or regional level, leaving California to develop its own statewide historic context and methodology. This research provides the historic context and survey methodology for the appropriate consideration of water conveyance systems, especially the frequently encountered canals and ditches, in order to take into account the effect of transportation projects on historic water conveyance facilities.


California Department of Transportation

Document Type


2000 - Water Conveyance Systems in California