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The Oroville Dam is really a crazy undertaking when you consider: 1) it primarily serves to move water all the way from north of Sacramento to San Joaquin Valley / Southern California, 2) despite generating some amount of electricity, it actually consumes 3/4 of that energy just in transporting the water (over mountain ranges). More generally, the State Water Project (of which the dam is a part) is the largest electricity consumer in the state of California.

Source: https://www.amazon.com/Introduction-California-Natural-Histo... (kind of "dry", but extremely informative)




That's actually kinda beautiful from an infrastructure point of view -- the infrastructure is self-sufficent and powered using it's own energy.

Or more accurately, it jiu-jitsu's the potential energy in the system to redistribute the resource in a more optimal way (optimal defined as "best for the human economy of california")


Quite an interesting (and somewhat infuriating) history. Cadillac Desert [1] is also an excellent chronicle of water projects in the west.

[1] https://www.amazon.com/Cadillac-Desert-American-Disappearing...


Wow! I had no idea the state actually piped water down like that, over mountain ranges no less.

or even that the dam served that purpose. thanks for sharing.




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