The San Luis Drain was designed to convey and dispose of subsurface irrigation return flows from the San Luis service area. Located along the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, the canal is part of the Central Valley Project, San Luis Unit, West San Joaquin Division.
Partially completed in 1974, the San Luis Drain is a concrete-lined channel with a designed capacity of 300 cubic feet per second. Due to funding problems and environmental issues, the construction of the San Luis Drain was terminated prior to completion.
At the construction termination point, Kesterson Reservoir was designed to pond, regulate, and allow the subsurface irrigation return flows to evaporate until construction of an outlet for the San Luis Drain was approved and completed. Eighty-seven miles of the planned 188-mile-long drain have been completed.