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Reclamation issues Record of Decision for Mendota Pool Group program offering affordable, reliable water for farmers
The Bureau of Reclamation issued a Record of Decision Friday for an action that optimizes water supply and reduces pumping impacts through the Mendota Pool Group 20-Year Exchange Program, expected to begin in early 2020.
Reclamation and Westlands Water District evaluated alternatives and recommended an action to allow annual exchanges over a 20-year period of up to 25,000 acre-feet of Central Valley Project water for groundwater that is introduced into the Mendota Pool, which is a small non-federal reservoir located near Mendota, around 35 miles west of Fresno in Fresno County.
Reclamation uses Mendota Pool Group groundwater to meet CVP contractual demands at the Pool. In exchange, CVP water that would have been delivered to the Pool from the Delta-Mendota Canal is diverted into the San Luis Canal and delivered to Mendota Pool Group lands in Westlands Water District for irrigating existing crops. Implementation of Preferred Alternative 2 will improve water reliability, reduce groundwater pumping impacts and will help to recharge or replenish the local aquifer.
The Mendota Pool Group is an unincorporated association of farmers that own or operate farmland in Westlands Water District, as well as in the Mendota Pool area. The Exchange Program incorporates design constraints, management actions, monitoring, and reporting requirements, as well as groundwater recharge components intended to replenish the local groundwater basin through use of existing and new recharge facilities.
The Record of Decision and previous environmental documents are available at https://www.usbr.gov/mp/nepa/nepa_project_details.php?Project_ID=36282