Caring for groundwater is vital to the central San Joaquin Valley’s rural and urban water supplies. Historically, groundwater levels within and surrounding the Fresno-Clovis Metropolitan Area (FCMA) and many rural districts have generally experienced a gradual decline. Almost all of the domestic water used in the region comes from groundwater supplies. Each year, seasonal precipitation, artificial groundwater recharge and irrigation replenish about 85-90% of the groundwater that is pumped out. Local agencies are taking action to keep the overdraft to a minimum.
Located near the Fresno-Yosemite International Airport, the City of Fresno operates Leaky Acres, which is comprised of 26 groundwater recharge ponds on 200 acres. It was built in 1970 to store water for percolation into the underground aquifer and recharging the groundwater supply.
Flood Control Basins
The Fresno Metropolitan Flood Control District (FMFCD), City of Clovis, City of Fresno and Fresno Irrigation District (FID) play a vital role in groundwater recharge. Throughout the year, FID delivers surface water to FMFCD’s flood control basins and the cities’ recharge basins where it percolates down into the aquifer & replenishing groundwater an average of 60,000 acre-feet per year.
The City of Clovis currently operates an 85-acre recharge facility at Sunnyside and Alluvial avenues. It was expanded to west to the Dry Creek Canal, nearly doubling its size and recharge capability.
Waldron Banking Facility
Fresno Irrigation District is investigating the possibility of expanding its existing 20-acre Waldron Pond near Kerman, 15 miles west of Fresno, to a banking facility of 270 acres with several recovery wells.
The City of Clovis is partnering with FID to expand the facility. The cost sharing agreement will give Clovis the first right of refusal for the water stored in the facility, providing a reliable source of surface water for the City of Clovis.
Bakman Water Company also supports FID’s recharge activities as part of its contract with FID for canal services.
KRCD Groundwater Management Areas
The Kings River Conservation District (KRCD) is the lead agency for three groundwater management areas in western Fresno and Kings counties. They conduct important studies and collect valuable data to develop means of stabilizing and improving groundwater resources.
Many Valley water agencies rely upon what is termed “conjunctive use” of surface water and groundwater to sustain water supply reliability. Consolidated Irrigation District pioneered groundwater recharge activities in the 1930s and today has 1,300 acres of ponding basins near Sanger, Selma, Fowler, Monmouth and Caruthers. Other districts have similar facilities to address the need for water at times when and in areas where surface water is not available.