Fresno Irrigation District adding new recharge basins

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Tuesday, November 9, 2021
Fresno Irrigation District adding new recharge basins
Growers have pumped so much groundwater over the years that the land is sinking in some areas.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Area canals in the Fresno Irrigation District have run dry but at some point during a wet year, a new recharge basin south of Fresno will be full of water.

"Most of the signs are pointing to another dry year, unfortunately, this year," says Fresno Irrigation District General Manager Bill Stretch. "It could turn wet and if it does, we've got the infrastructure in place to capture those flood flows."

Because of ongoing drought challenges, FID is drawing a line in the sand and developing four new basins.

Stretch said that one located at Malaga and East avenues will deliver water to both growers and families.

"We specifically targeted this site because we're upgradient of the community of Easton, which is a disadvantaged community," he said.

FID water deliveries lasted just four weeks this season instead of five months because of low reservoir levels.

Farmers relied on pumping groundwater from their wells.

The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 requires agencies to develop sustainable groundwater practices.

"Capturing those flood flows and keeping that within our area, recharging our groundwater aquifer, that's what SGMA is all about," Bill said.

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

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

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

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

"It just seems like a good solution that has been working and will continue to work moving into the future," he said.

The FID is also working with Consolidated and Alta Irrigation Districts, which cover communities from Parlier and Selma to Reedley and Dinuba, on a plan to buy 3,500 more acres that can be used to develop recharge basins.