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The Columbia River Basin Project Begun with the construction of the Grand Coulee Dam in 1933, the Columbia River Basin Project is one of the largest, and most contentious, engineering projects ever completed in the American West. Franklin Roosevelt originally authorized the construction of the dam with the intention of diverting huge portions of the Columbia River to the fertile, though arid, Washington State Interior.??With the outbreak of World War II, however, irrigation initiatives were put on hold, and hydroelectric power became the dam's primary function. This change in use proved important historically.

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About - Columbia River Basin Project Background The University of Oregon Libraries are participating in a collaborative project to develop a digital collection of print, image, cartographic, and other format materials relating to the waters of the Western United States. The project is partially funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and is administered centrally by the Greater Western Library Alliance (GWLA) of which the UO Libraries are a member. The Western Waters Digital Library (WWDL) is a distributed collection of materials from research institutions in the Western United States of America.

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