Fresno Irrigation District Adds New Recharge Ponds

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FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) – Zone canals in the Fresno Irrigation District have dried up, but at some point in a wet year, a new recharge basin south of Fresno will be full of water.

“Most signs point to another dry year, unfortunately this year,” said Bill Stretch, general manager of the Fresno Irrigation District. “It could get wet and if it does, we have the infrastructure in place to capture these flood flows.”

Due to the current challenges of drought, FID is drawing a line in the sand and developing four new basins.

Stretch said the one on Malaga and East Avenues will provide water to producers and families.

“We have specifically targeted this site because we are in the process of improving the Easton community, which is a disadvantaged community,” he said.

FID water deliveries have only lasted four weeks this season instead of five months due to low reservoir levels.

Farmers relied on pumping groundwater from their wells.

The 2014 Law on Sustainable Groundwater Management obliges agencies to develop sustainable groundwater practices.

“Capturing these flood flows and maintaining them in our region, recharging our underground aquifers, this is the raison d’être of SGMA,” said Bill.

The FID is part of the North Kings GSA or Groundwater Sustainable Agency.

Charging basins are being developed at 15 sites in this particular region.

Some people believe that another dam is needed to catch water during wet seasons.

At this point, Stretch says the state wants to see more ponds prepared to store floodwater.

“It seems like a good solution that has worked and will continue to work in the future,” he said.

FID is also working with Consolidated and Alta Irrigation Districts, which cover the communities of Parlier and Selma in Reedley and Dinuba, on a plan to purchase an additional 3,500 acres that can be used to develop recharge ponds.

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