Don Pedro Reservoir

Don Pedro Reservoir and Dam was first built in 1923; a new dam and reservoir project was completed in 1971. The Don Pedro Project is jointly owned by MID and Turlock Irrigation District (TID). Don Pedro Reservoir is the sixth-largest body of water in California and has a maximum storage capacity of 2,030,000 acre-feet. It is 26 miles long with 160 miles of shoreline. The water it holds could cover one million football fields to a depth of two feet.

The farmers of MID and TID need water to grow their crops. Things like almonds, peaches, walnuts, corn and many other crops grow in the summer when it is hot and dry. Because of the dam and the reservoir we created, the Districts can keep large amounts of water available during the dry parts of the year when crops are growing. Water is released from Don Pedro Reservoir as the farmers need it. Water is also released for the benefit of fish and wildlife along the Tuolumne River.

Another benefit of the reservoir is that it provides flood control under the direction of the Army Corps of Engineers. Don Pedro Dam holds back water that might otherwise cause flooding further down the Tuolumne River.

At the bottom of the dam is a powerhouse, where water is used to produce electricity. Some of the electricity you use at home and work comes from there. After the water leaves the powerhouse, it continues on its way down the river.

MID and TID are currently in the multi-year Federal Energy Regulatory Commission process for relicensing Don Pedro.


Don Pedro Reservoir, located 45 minutes east of Modesto, California, provides opportunities for boating, water sports, swimming, fishing, camping and other related outdoor recreation activities. Visit Don Pedro Recreation Agency for more information.