image from Nat Geo

** ADVANCE FOR SUNDAY SEPT. 4 ** Harvey Bailey walks through his orange orchard in Orange Cove, Calif., on Thursday, March 24, 2005. Communities like Orange Cove rely on the San Joaquin river for irrigation of crops. “Without it, we’d just dry up, the farms, the town everything.” says Bailey, whose family has been growing oranges in the area since the early 1900s. By 1935, Congress approved emergency funds for the Central Valley Project, with the massive Friant Dam at its concrete heart and open channels radiating north and south. Friant’s construction in 1944 put an end to the farmers’ concerns, reviving the economy. Towns blossomed along the canals. More than a million acres of farmland came to life, producing more than 200 crops including oranges, almonds, grapes and cotton. “It made this valley live,” said Harvey Bailey, whose family grows 1,100 acres of oranges and lemons in Orange Cove, 50 miles south of the dam. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Leave a Reply