KAWEAH DELTA WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT, TULARE IRRIGATION DISTRICT
Districts, Visalia Work On Wastewater Recycling
The Tulare Irrigation District and Kaweah Delta Water Conservation District continue to work closely with Visalia on a wastewater recycling program and other projects aimed at stemming continuing groundwater overdraft in the central Tulare County area.
Retiring Visalia City Manager Steve Salomon, in a Visalia Times-Delta column, said the city’s “significant investment in water infrastructure upgrades will help to assure an adequate future water supply for the city’s residents.”
“No local economy existed before water and none will be able to survive without it,” Salomon wrote.
The city relies on groundwater but the water table continues a steady decline, a problem that the Kaweah Delta Water Conservation District – one of the Friant Water Authority’s newest members – and Tulare Irrigation District (another FWA member and Friant contractor) are working hard to correct in company with other water agencies and the city.
A number of groundwater recharge and conservation programs have long been in place to make use of surplus water in big precipitation years and stretch supplies at other times.
The latest effort, to recycle all of Visalia’s wastewater, involves a $140 million city upgrade of its water conservation plant.
When operational, the plant will be able to produce advanced-treated recycled water which can be used without restriction for agricultural irrigation.
“The upgrade will enable the city to recycle 100% of our wastewater,” Salomon said.
“Some of the recycled water will be used to irrigate facilities on the west side of the city, but the majority of the recycled water will be traded with the Tulare Irrigation District, west of the city, for agricultural irrigation in exchange for surface water that can be used for recharge on the east side of the city.”
Nearly 13 million gallons a day of recycled water (about 38 acre-feet) will be generated.
A “purple-pipe” infrastructure will also be constructed to deliver recycled water to irrigate Plaza Park, Valley Oaks Golf Course and the Visalia Municipal Airport.
New recharge facilities are also being planned and developed.
“Water conservation provides a one-to-one direct benefit, Salomon said. “An acre-foot not pumped is an acre-foot saved.”
Effort To Stop
Releases Is Lost
The Westlands Water District and San Luis and Delta-Mendota Water Authority have lost a courtroom bid to halt a Klamath River water release from Trinity Lake in far Northern California to protect salmon.
U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill had previously temporary halted the water release until arguments were heard during a two-day Fresno hearing.
The water agencies contended the federal government was not following its own rules.
Dan Nelson, Executive Director of San Luis and Delta-Mendota Water Authority, said the impact of the water releases will be less than feared.
The Trinity ruling reduced potential additional releases (and water supply impacts) from over 100,000 acre feet to approximately 20,000 acre-feet.
Is Under Way
Drought conditions have resulted in a water storage project benefit on Madera County’s Fresno River.
Due to the dry conditions, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to complete maintenance projects on pumps that deliver water from Hensley Lake behind Hidden Dam to water treatment plants.
This water serves recreation areas and administrative buildings at the lake northeast of Madera.
In order to access the pumps, the Madera Irrigation District was requested to drop the lake below the low pool level of 5,000 acre-feet.
As of September 16, the Lake was at 4,750 acre-feet, approximately 5% of capacity. Boat ramps are out of the water.
MID, a contractor for Central Valley Project Hidden Unit water, shut off water deliveries from the lake August 26 and since has been serving the district exclusively with water from Friant Dam and the Madera Canal.
MADERA IRRIGATION DISTRICT
Madera Irrigation District has named Hemanta Mungur as its new Chief Financial Officer.
He fills the position vacated by Jill Low, who is now Assistant General Manager.
Mungur previously was Southwest Education Support Agency Director of Finance for nine years.
Public meetings will be held this month on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ plans to resolve safety of dams issues with Isabella Dam.
Recreational concerns will be addressed during the meetings.
The first will be held from 6-8 p.m. September 25 in Kernville’s Chamber of Commerce. The other, at the Lake Isabella Veterans and Senior Center, will be from 9-11 a.m. September 26.
Construction is planned for 2017. The project is aimed at resolving over-topping, seismic and seepage issues identified with Isabella Lake’s main and auxiliary dams to reduce the likelihood of dam failure.
In Wine Region
Worsening groundwater conditions in expanding portions of the rich Paso Robles wine region are prompting consideration of forming a water district to protect the basin’s troubled aquifer.
The Paso Robles Agricultural Alliance for Groundwater Solutions plans to circulate a formal petition within the next month to seek approval from the San Luis Obispo County Local Agency Formation Commission to schedule an election.
If organized, the district would manage groundwater and oversee conservation efforts.
“If we don’t get a water district, we’re just committing ourselves to more agony and nothing getting done,” said Jerry Reagh, who chairs the group.
Opponents contend such a district would favor large landowners.
A Blue-Ribbon Steering Committee set up by the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors is already working to find a governance solution.
County supervisors have directed its staff to develop recommendations for the formation of some kind of water district in the next 45 days.
TUOLUMNE COUNTY FIRE
Water Still OK
San Francisco’s water supply appears to have as yet not experience quality problems as a result of the massive Rim Fire that has nearly surrounded three reservoirs the city owns in Yosemite National Park.
San Francisco Public Utilities commissioners were told water quality is unaffected. Turbidity, or cloudiness, is within state-mandated levels, although that is likely to change once fall and winter rains arrive.
The fire has charred some 256,000 acres and has virtually surrounded Hetch Hetcy Reservoir, Lake Eleanor and Cherry Lake. Massive watershed areas have been blackened.
The fire began August 17 in the Stanislaus National Forest near Groveland. It is the third largest fire in California history.