Transmission for California’s Central Valley
Dan Pope is Chief Operating Officer of the Westlands Water District.
PUF: Dan, where is the Westlands Water District located in California? And what do you do there?
Dan Pope: The Westlands Water District is primarily located in western Fresno and Kings County. It's due west of Fresno and stretches from the city of Mendota in the north to Kettleman City in the south. It encompasses about one thousand square miles of productive farmland.
It's the largest agricultural water district in the country by area. There are nearly sixty or seventy different types of food and fiber crops that are grown in the district, and we rely heavily on water. Our water supply is from the Central Valley Project that was built by the Bureau of Reclamation in California.
I am the Chief Operating Officer for the District, responsible for directing the daily operations within the District.
PUF: Are your customers the farmers that grow many kinds of fruits and vegetables?
Dan Pope: That's correct. I think it's important to note that the district serves about seven hundred family farms.
Some of them are larger landholdings, but they're all primarily family-held farms. It's a smaller group of folks that provide a variety of foods and vegetables; there are large holdings of almonds and pistachios.
Cotton is still grown here, in a limited quantity. They also grow garlic, onions, and lettuce. Both table grapes and wine grapes are very large crops. Some melons are grown here.