California Moves to Recharge Groundwater Basins with Floodwater

Brian GermanAgri-Business, Water

Efforts to address floodwater in the Central Valley will include emergency diversions into groundwater recharge basins. The Department of Water Resources (DWR) made the announcement earlier this week. DWR will be providing support including equipment and funding to help local agencies divert high river flows away from at-risk areas.


Temporary pumps and siphons have already been deployed by the Fresno Irrigation District as part of the work to address flood impacts. Special Project Manager for the Fresno Irrigation District, Kassy Chauhan said the District and its partners have “the ability to put 200,000 acre-feet of water into the underground, utilizing existing facilities, doing projects like the temporary pump projects and it will go a long way in our road to sustainability.” A pump deployed as part of the effort is taking around five cubic feet per second (cfs) out of the Kings River and pumping it into groundwater basins.

DWR’s Temporary Flood Diversion Equipment and Groundwater Recharge program seeks to reduce flood risk while maximizing the value of the available water. Pumps with flow meters, with a capacity between five and 50 cfs, are being deployed as part of the program. In the Central Valley, there are a total of 15 temporary pumps currently in the planning and deployment phase. DWR projects that pump operation over the next four months could capture upwards of 55,000 acres-feet of spring runoff.

“In times of emergency, it’s critically important that state and local agencies roll up our sleeves to coordinate and communicate what is needed,” DWR Deputy Director of Groundwater Management, Paul Gosselin said in a news release. “Based on feedback from local agencies, DWR acted quickly to secure this needed equipment so agencies could expand their capacity to divert high river flows and increase groundwater recharge.”

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West