Coachella Aqueduct – Coachella CA


The Coachella Canal is a 122-mile (196 km) aqueduct that conveys Colorado River water for irrigation to the Coachella Valley in Riverside County, California.  It is effectively a branch of the All-American Canal, which was completed in the 1930s.   Both are arms of the gigantic Colorado River Storage Project, anchored by Boulder Dam, built under the Bureau of Reclamation.  The contract for both canals went to the so-called Six Companies – an alliance of big western construction firms including Kaiser, Bechtel, Utah Construction and Parsons.

Contracts were signed in 1936-37 and work began in 1940 but was interrupted by the Second World War. Work resumed after the war and the canal was completed in 1949.   As a September 1934 issue of California Highway & Public Works observes:

“The California District Securities Commission has approved the $10,000,000 contract between the Coachella Valley County Water District and the Federal government for the construction of the Coachella branch of the All-American Canal as a result of the investigation and report of the State Engineer. The Commission has also authorized the issuance of bonds to the Reconstruction Finance Corporation by four irrigation districts totalling $2,375,000 for refinancing loan. …

The area to be served in the Coachella Valley by the proposed canal is about 140,000 acres and the cost of the work which the government agrees to do for the water district is estimated at approximately $10,000,000.”

Source notes

September 1934 Issue of California Highway & Public Works

Project originally submitted by Andrew Laverdiere on August 1, 2014.

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Location Info

Coachella, CA

Coordinates: 33.6939, -116.130

2 comments on “Coachella Aqueduct – Coachella CA

  1. Ellen Lloyd Trover

    I am currently writing a history of the canal for the Coachella Valley Water District. The canal is usually referred to as the Coachella Branch of the All American Canal; it was a part of the Boulder Canyon Project Act, and was built under contract for the US Bureau of Reclamation. The contract between Coachella Valley County Water Dist. and the Bureau was signed in 1934. Due to lack of funds in the BCP account, the contract for the turnout at Drop 1 on the All American Canal was not let until August 1937, & the contract for the first section of the canal was let in June 1938. Upon completion it extended 123 miles from the turnout to the Coachella Valley. It was entirely gravity fed and subsequently linked to an underground deliver system (primarily gravity fed), also built under contract for the Bureau. Today, CVWD is in charge of operation and maintenance, but title to the canal remains with the Bureau of Reclamation.

  2. Andrew Laverdiere

    Thanks Ellen. If you have any photos to share whether old or new , please send them in.

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