The Central Valley project, undertaken largely to bring surplus water from the north to make the San Joaquin Valley more fertile, has as one of its units Friant Dam on the San Joaquin; the San Luis Dam is on the San Luis River, and the Delta-Mendota Canal parallels the lower San Joaquin on the west. The diversion of much of the river's water to irrigation, however, caused large stretches of the river from below the Friant Dam to the Merced River to run dry. An agreement in 2006 between the Bureau of Reclamation, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Friant Water Users Authority called for restoration of 153 mi (246 km) of the river through the release of water from the Millerton Reservoir behind the Friant Dam.
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