Delta–Mendota Canal

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
The Delta-Mendota Canal
Oblique aerial photo with fish eye lens of the Delta Mendota Canal north of Patterson, California.
Oblique aerial photo with fish eye lens of the Delta Mendota Canal north of Patterson, California.
Map of Central Valley Project. Delta Mendota Canal, in blue, runs southwest to northeast, in the central part of the map.

The Delta–Mendota Canal is a 117 mi (188 km) aqueduct in central California, United States. The canal was designed and completed in 1951 by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation as part of the Central Valley Project to supply freshwater to users downstream of the San Joaquin River [1]. Freshwater is diverted into the Madera Canal and Friant-Kern Canal at Friant Dam.

The canal begins in the Northwestern region of the San Joaquin Valley, and east of the Cascademade from mostly concrete and a slope of 3 inches per mile. [2] At the C.W. Bill Jones Pumping Plant (formerly the Tracy Pumping Plant), roughly 197 ft (60 m) of water is obtained from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The canal runs southward along the western edge of the San Joaquin Valley, parallel to the California Aqueduct, and diverges to the east after passing the San Luis Reservoir, receiving more water and eventually emptying into the San Joaquin River near the city of Mendota. The canal travels through 6 state counties, Alameda, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, and Fresno counties.

Clifton Court Forebay provides added water to the flow of the canal.


The water is pumped from the canal into O'Neill Forebay, and then is pumped into San Luis Reservoir by the Gianelli Pumping-Generating Plant. Occasionally, water from O'Neill Forebay is released into the canal. The Delta–Mendota Canal ends at Mendota Pool, on the San Joaquin River near the city of Mendota, 30 mi (48 km) west of Fresno. The Delta–Mendota Canal capacity is 4,600 cu ft/s (130 m3/s) and gradually decreases to 3,211 cu ft/s (90.9 m3/s) at its terminus.Average annual throughput is 1,993,000 acre feet (2.458 km3).


After years of drought, the state of California highlighted the importance of a large-scale water project, thus creating the California State Water Plan, but eventually being taken over by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in 1931 due to the Great Depression. In 1937 the Central Valley Project(CVP) was approved by Congress to deliver freshwater throughout the San Joaquin Valley. The Friant-Kern Canal east of Fresno was built to distribute water through the eastern parts of the Central Valley, however, altered the natural flows of the San Joaquin River between the Friant Dam and confluence of the Merced River. [1] The Delta–Mendota Canal was approved for the exchange of water rights in the downstream portion of the San Joaquin River. The United States Bureau of Reclamation and the San Luis Delta Mendota Water Authority are responsible for maintaining the water quality that is discharged at the south end of the canal.


Coordinates: 37°05′34″N 121°02′27″W / 37.092721°N 121.0407554°W / 37.092721; -121.0407554

  1. ^ a b Tanji, Kenneth; Lauchli, Andre; Meyer, Jewell (July 1986). "Selenium in the San Joaquin Valley". Environment. 28: 6–36 – via EBSCO.CS1 maint: date and year (link)
  2. ^ Prokopovich, Nikola P. (January 24, 1969). "Land Subsidence Along Delta-Mendota Canal, California". Rock Mechanics. 1: 134–144 – via Springer.