Excess water from the Kings River bringing old waterways back to life

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In Kings County, south of Kingsburg, water is flowing where it hasn't in years. (KFSN)

In Kings County, south of Kingsburg, water is flowing where it hasn't in years. It has turned Buel Gustafson's small almond farm into somewhat of an island.

"It's great, the more water that comes through, the better it is."

Last year his well hit sand about 120 feet down, so he had to build a new one and dig deeper-- just like most of his neighbors.

"A lot of the guys around here lost wells; I have a friend of mine-- has seven wells on his acreage and lost five of 'em."

In January, things changed-- snow started melting sending a rush of water down the Kings River from Pine Flat Dam. It brought his old well back online and the last time he checked his water table was up 16 feet.

Randy McFarland with the Kings River Water Association said the relief is the result of strategic planning. This new oasis is really a six mile stretch known as the old river-- excess water is being funneled into it to recharge groundwater basins and there are other areas just like it up and down the Valley catching water for safekeeping.

"During a drought, we all hope for a wet year and we got it-- we may have got a little too much of a good thing but we are certainly making the best possible use out of this water."

As for Gustafson-- He said two wells are better than one, but he can't help wishing for better storage. Water that doesn't get absorbed will run into the San Joaquin River and could potentially be lost to the ocean.
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