Water - crops don't grow without it. Rice is an aquatic crop and clearly needs water to grow. California has a system of reservoirs that store mountain runoff water from the winter snows. Since it quits raining sometime between March and May and does not rain again until October, this stored water is essential for California.

     The top two pictures are of the Oroville reservoir that holds up to 3.5 million acre feet of water. A number of other reservoirs provide water to rice country - Shasta dam and New Bullards Bar are other examples. Water from these sources is used for many different purposes from recreation to drinking to agriculture. Rice is only one of many users.

     Once the water is released from the dams, it enters the rivers or a system of irrigation canals. Water from these large canals is distributed throughout the valley. Smaller canals, like those shown in the lower right, moves the water to the particular field where it is needed. Gates control the flow of water into the fields (middle picture) that are divided by small levees (lower left). These levees allow better control of the water depth which is extremely important for rice growth and weed suppression.

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