FriantKern Canal

A U.S. Bureau of Reclamation proposal would tap the Friant-Kern Canal in Tulare County and use it to recharge the groundwater basin under two irrigation districts.

Public input on proposed groundwater recharge plan

Two irrigation districts cover 126,000 acres of farmland in Tulare County Districts support diversified farming operations that include permanent crops and dairies Project goal is to aid in sustainable water supply to growers

Public comments are due April 28 on a groundwater recharge project that could help growers in at least two south San Joaquin Valley irrigation districts.

If completed, the project would include a 532-acre groundwater recharge basin connected to a 4.5 mile pipeline that draws surface water from the Friant-Kern Canal. It also includes 11 groundwater recovery wells installed within the Pixley Irrigation District.

These actions would allow the Pixley and Delano-Earlimart Irrigation Districts to expand groundwater recharge efforts and improve groundwater levels. The proposed project would also contribute to the San Joaquin River Restoration Program’s goal of reducing or avoiding adverse water supply impacts to Friant Division long-term contractors.

According to Dale Brogan, special projects manager with the Delano-Earlimart Irrigation District, the project could help alleviate the "chronic groundwater overdraft condition" within the district.

"Groundwater banking is an economically feasible and viable option that can and will help alleviate this concern through the capture of wet-year water, banking it in the underground, and later recovering it when the next drought comes along," Brogan said.

The Bureau of Reclamation would provide partial funding for construction of the proposed project, under Public Law 111-11, which authorizes Reclamation to provide financial assistance to local agencies within its Central Valley Project for planning, designing and constructing local facilities to bank water underground or recharge groundwater.

The Draft EA/IS is available online. Those with difficulties accessing the document can call 916-978-5100 (TTY 800-877-8339) or email [email protected].

Written comments are due by close of business April 28, 2016, to Becky Victorine, Bureau of Reclamation, 2800 Cottage Way, MP-170, Sacramento, CA 95825. Comments may also be faxed to 916-978-5469 or emailed to [email protected]. For additional information, contact Victorine at 916-978-4624.

For information on the San Joaquin River Restoration Program, visit www.restoresjr.net.

TAGS: Water
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