AUDIO: Ground water slowly being restored with new project
May 23, 2016
• Irrigation district builds recharge system
• “The joint recharge project will bring a new opportunity to replenish groundwater supplies”
A big dirt bathtub to help recharge groundwater
Drop by drop, at least part of the underground water resources of the Central Valley are being restored through a new project by the Laguna Irrigation District near Laton.
It has teamed with the California Department of Water Resources, Kings Basin Water Authority, and Sustainable Conservation – with financial support from Coca-Cola – to build a ground water replenishment project.
More than 50 acres in area, the former farmland has been made into a sort of giant dirt bathtub, eight feet deep with earthen sides.
In future wet years, floodwater from the nearby Kings River will be redirected to fill the basin where it will then seep into the ground and raise water levels in the aquifer below. The project site was chosen for its sandy soils that allow rapid percolation and maximum recharge. The additional groundwater can be used immediately or stored for dry years.
“Drought conditions and the additional groundwater pumping needed to sustain the local farming industry are a source of concern, and with the advent of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, this and future projects are critical to our area,” says Scott Sills, general manager of the Laguna Irrigation District.
“The joint recharge project will bring a new opportunity to replenish groundwater supplies for local landowners and neighboring towns – and has the added benefit of reducing the risk of costly flooding to our downstream communities during flood events by putting those waters to beneficial use,” Mr. Sills says.
In this exclusive CVBT Audio Interview, Scott Sills, general manager of the Laguna Irrigation District, talks about the new basin and its importance. (Click on the link to listen now or to download the audio file for later listening.)
River basin are extracting more groundwater annually than can be captured from rainfall or snowmelt. Project partners anticipate that during wet years the basin will recharge the underlying groundwater aquifer with approximately 2,600 acre feet, or nearly 850 million gallons, of water per year. That’s enough water to irrigate around 1,300 acres of crops like grapes or tomatoes.