New recharge basin increases storage capacity in Fresno Irrigation District

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FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) — We may be facing a third drought year, but at some point we will experience a wet year again.

When this happens, the Fresno Irrigation District will be in a better position to collect runoff water.

The state is urging water agencies to develop more groundwater ponds to catch floodwaters when the heavy rains finally return.

The newest in the Fresno Irrigation District was put into service immediately.

The Savory Groundwater Recharge Pond in Chestnut and Lincoln already stores water.

The 30-acre land is strategically located adjacent to the Fresno Irrigation District’s Oleander Canal, which sends water to users but can now displace excess floodwaters and recharge the new underground aquifer.

“We can take storm water, flood water from the Kings watershed, San Joaquin watershed, local streams and even city pumping and we can run it down the canal and dump it into the ponds here” , says the General of the Fresno Irrigation District (FID). director Bill Stretch.

From above, you can see part of the farmland that will benefit from the new groundwater basin.

A more reliable water supply means farmers won’t have to pump as much water from their wells.

But the system is designed to help the whole community, including those who live in the nearby Shady Lakes mobile home park.

“They’re solely dependent on well water, so having a groundwater recharge project right next door is going to improve the volume and quality of that water supply for them,” Stretch says.

Neighbors with domestic wells will also benefit.

The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act requires agencies to develop sustainable groundwater practices.

“It’s basically instructed us to do things differently. Getting us to a point where we’re managing our groundwater and not creating conditions where we’re going to be chronically overdrawn,” says Kassy Chauhan of the North Kings Groundwater Agency.

With increasingly intense and frequent periods of drought, the basin plays an important role in the FID.

“Groundwater is increasingly becoming an important buffer and we need this kind of capacity to have more groundwater available,” says Jorge Baca of the Water Resources Department.

Stretch figure that this basin has the capacity to store 900 acres of water per year.

The project was funded by Proposition 68 funding and a $1.2 million grant from the State Department of Water Resources.

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