PROJECT: Tennessee Valley Authority

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is a federally owned corporation in the United States created by congressional charter in May 1933 to provide navigation, flood control, electricity generation, fertilizer manufacturing, and economic development in the Tennessee Valley, a region particularly affected by the Great Depression.



  • After The Great Depression, the Tennessee Valley was in dire straits. Its populati on suffered from malaria and incomes were very low. Land had been farmed too hard for too long, resulting in the erosion of the soil.
  • Crop yields and incomes had decreased considerably. The best  timber had been cut, while 10% of the valley’s forests were burnt each year.
  • There was high unemployment rates in the Tenesse area.



  • Improve the gloomy economic situation in the Tennesse Valley that had been caused by The Great Depression.
  • Achieve high standards of flood control, electricity and economic development in the Tenessee Valley.
  • Redevelop the 40,000 sq miles of the Tennessee Valley, covering seven states.


  • Cheap labour readily available.
  • Vacant brownfields at the banks of the River Nervión.
  • Variety of cultural, historic and cosmopolitan city cores in the Tennessee Valley region.
  • Connection with the sea and the rural hinterland.
  • A network of rivers with a good geological setting for building efficient dams.


  • The independent governmental agency TVA was set up, creati ng temporary job schemes.
  • The local unemployed were hired as manual labour for temporary public work, conservation projects and programs.
  • The proposed dams and hydroelectric stations were constructed, providing flood control and producing energy simultaneously.
  • The hydroelectric stations provided flood control and energy to provide the cities with cheap electricity, stimmulating industrial development.
  • “TVA must become a corporation clothed with the power of government but possessing  the flexibility and initiative of a private enterprise” (Franklin D. Roosevelt)


  • 1930’s, dams were built and fertilizers were delivered to the farms. Programs were set up to show farmers how to improve crop yields and to replant forests.
  • 1940’s, power plants are built. TVA provides the power for critical war industries and initiates a large hydropower construction program.
  • 1950’s, TVA has completed 1050km navigations channels, spanning the length of the Tennessee river and has become the nation’s largest electricity supplier.
  • 1960’s, TVA begins the construction of nuclear plants as a new source of economical power.
  • 1970’s, TVA has become more competitive, improving its efficiency and productivity, while cutting costs.
  • 1990’s, a new clean air strategy is enabled to reduce the pollutants. The first green power program has was founded in the Southeast.


  • The region has not been subject to serious flooding since the establishment of the TVA.
  • Electricity stayed at a low cost.
  • TVA benefited in agriculture by encouraging conservation, reforestation, and agricultural research.
  • The TVA public works generated employment and tourism for the region.
  • The creation of the TVA marked the first time that an agency was directed to address the total resource development needs of a major region.
  • Tennessee Valley has experienced regional economic development, rapidly modernizing the region’s economy and society.


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Project info




1933 - current


modernizing a region / generating energy


cheap electricity, employment, reforestation




TVA is a government-owned independent corporation
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