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Continual project development brings promise of long-term sustainability amid observed groundwater level declines

Adam Claes, Assistant General Manager of Operations at Fresno Irrigation District, updated the North Kings GSA on observed groundwater level declines in the area. Claes reported March well readings at three monitoring wells in Fresno Irrigation District’s western, eastern, and southern boundaries indicated four to six feet of groundwater level decline between October 2020 and March 2021. Although the Fresno Irrigation District boundary does not cover the entire extent of the North Kings GSA, it serves as a useful indication of what’s happening with groundwater in the region.

Figure: Groundwater Level Elevation Contour Map, Spring 2021, Fresno Irrigation District

Upcoming Groundwater Measurements

Fall measurements begin in October and will provide a picture of how groundwater was impacted by the dry conditions and short irrigation district runs observed this summer. Claes reported the Kings River saw its fourth driest year on record, with about 24% of average runoff for Water Year 2020-21.

Project Development

Amid dry conditions, the North Kings GSA member agencies are working diligently to develop projects that increase surface water capture, including dedicated recharge basins. Projects like the Savory Pond Project take time from initial design, construction, and completion, making project development through dry years a priority to position the region for success.

Having basins for wet years that bring excess surface water into the area allows for groundwater replenishment after dry periods, ultimately providing for a sustainable groundwater supply trend.

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