Fresno ponding basins filling up as storm brings steady rain

Dale Yurong Image
Tuesday, January 10, 2023
Fresno ponding basins filling up as storm brings steady rain
The flow has been nonstop through the storm water basins and 700 miles of pipeline.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The steady rain has been filling up ponding basins.

The City of Fresno prepared before the storm drenched the valley.

"Checking pumps, making sure those are working, draining down an of our ponding basins to create room for this storm water that's coming in right now," said Public Works Director Scott Mozier.

The flow has been non-stop through the Flood Control District's 150 storm water basins and 700 miles of pipeline.

"Some of our basins are getting kind of full. so when that happens, we work with either the City of Fresno or Clovis or the county of Fresno, if we need to start closing roads off," said Flood Control District GM Peter Sanchez.

Millerton Lake is already at 75% capacity so the Bureau of Reclamation has increased releases from Friant Dam to make room for more water.

Those releases are now available for those who can take delivery in Fresno and Madera.

"In some cases there's gonna be farms themselves but in most cases, it's going to be water or irrigation districts that are taking it and putting it into basins," said Ryan Jacobsen, Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO.

Jacobsen also serves on the Fresno Irrigation District Board.

Flood runoff is designed to flow out of basins to help recharge the underground aquifer.

"These ponding basins are connected to canals and so, in between storms and during storms, we're de-watering what's going on in the urban environment, put it into the canal and taking it out to the rural areas so we can sink it into the ground," s aid Jacobsen.

After three dry years, Valley farmers hope the rainy and snowy conditions continue and eventually break the drought cycle.

"We have some grain planted as you can see here behind me. It's really happy with the rain. We're happy with the rain for the grain because we don't have to irrigate it," said Joe Del Bosque, a farmer from Firebaugh.

There can be too much of a good thing.

Del Bosque worries runoff from local farms could flood rural communities like Mendota.

Newly built ponding basins are being tested for the first time, and more are in the works