Much needed rain fall gives hope to Valley residents

FRESNO, Calif. -- California's water supply is merely trying to play catch-up after four years of drought. Wednesday night's storm, though, whetted our appetite.

The rains that rolled through helped clean up the air and put folks in a better mood. Water experts hope the storm is a very early indication of what's to come this winter. But after four years of heavy groundwater pumping and reduced surface water deliveries due to the drought, the underground aquifer is severely taxed. So much so that one wet year won't replenish the supply.

"We need an El Nino year and we need an above average year. We don't need just one to occur this year. We need them back-to-back because we've got a long way to go to capture what we've been extracting," said Gary Serrato of the Fresno Irrigation District.

Sarge Green of the California Water Institute explained, "Since groundwater is quite often a substantial portion of the supply for cities and for agriculture the real issue is a wet year will not help the groundwater much at all."

Green is especially worried about subsidence in some areas. Land is actually sinking because too much water is being taken out from the groundwater supply. Once the land sinks you lose water storage space.

Green says if we have a wet winter areas which have seen subsidence such as, the Red Top El Nido area in Southern Merced County, could have flood problems.