The Tennessee Valley Authority (T.V.A.) was a United States government agency established in 1933 to control floods, improve navigation and produce electrical power along the Tennessee River and its tributaries.
Its jurisdiction is generally limited to the drainage basin of the river which covers parts of Seven States—Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.
America’s fifth largest river, the Tennessee, was interrupted in its westward flow at Muscle Shoals, Alabama, where it dropped 100 feet in the course of 20 miles.
Many schemes for generating hydroelectric power had been put forward, but it was not until 1933 that the decision was made.
At that time the United States was experiencing a Great Depression and president Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945) strongly favored development at Muscle Shoals which would stimulate the economy of the region.
The authority eventually operated 32 major dams and river traffic increased from 33 million ton miles in 1933 to more than 2,000 miles in the 1960s.
The T.V.A., power system possesses a huge generating capacity which is sold in bulk. Nitrate plants at Muscle Shoals have been developed and production of experimental fertilizers and studies of forest conditions have been carried out.
The T.V.A. also played an important part in increasing recreational opportunities in the valley. The “Great Lakes of the South” provide many such facilities.