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Development of California resources by expanded irrigation of 12,000,000 acres of virtually untouched agricultural land


By 1920, California's potential wealth in land reached into billions of dollars; 12,000,000 acres of available agricultural lands remained practically untouched. Marshall proposed a large plan that would make the Valley of California the world's greatest garden. The engineering plans for such a project must be comprehensive, for their execution must not only assure the complete reclamation of 12,000,000 acres of valley lands but must also effectively and forever control the river floods and insure safe and continuous river navigation throughout the year. The hydro-electric current generated along most of the streams would furnish all the power necessary for construction as well as supply more power than would be needed for use on electric railroads, in municipal lighting, for manufacturing, and for domestic use in the new homes as they were established, and the sale of this power at fair rates would be a big revenue producer.

This document is Marshall's proposal to irrigate 12,000,000 acres in California. From a diversion dam to be built across the Sacramento River above and near Redding water would be carried in large canals down each side of the Sacramento Valley and up each side of the San Joaquin Valley. These main canals would operate by gravity, siphons, or pumps, or through tunnel as might be necessary. On the main West Side Canal opposite San Francisco a large supply would be diverted for the use of the San Francisco and Bay Cities unit. The main East Side Canal would be twice dropped and twice again started at new and higher levels on the east side of the San Joaquin Valley. Separate in construction and operation from the two Valley of California systems but necessarily cooperative in a State-wide sense, was a third system, called the "Los Angeles unit." The system would always be dependent upon the Kern River, which would be diverted through a long tunnel for use in southern California. To offset the diversion of the Kern River water from the San Joaquin Valley the Klamath River would be diverted below Klamath Falls and carried into the upper Sacramento River near Shasta Springs. The tributary streams would be drawn upon through reservoirs and further flexibility of the total flow would be provided by additional storage below the canals.


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1920 - Irrigation of Twelve Million Acres in the Valley of California; Robert Bradford Marshall