The Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced it will begin an emergency program to divert high river flows away from flood-prone Central Valley communities and into groundwater recharge basins.
DWR is working with local agencies and equipment vendors to provide funding and secure much-needed temporary diversion equipment, including pumps and siphons, and will support their deployment by local agencies.
The first set of temporary pumps and siphons were deployed by Fresno Irrigation District last month. The district is reducing downstream flood impacts in the Tulare Lake Region and expanding groundwater recharge efforts by diverting water from Kings River reaches to existing recharge facilities or working agricultural lands.
DWR is planning to deploy 15 temporary pumps in and around the Central Valley. Operating these pumps to divert water for the next four months could capture upwards of 55,000 acre-feet.
“In times of emergency, it’s critically important that state and local agencies roll up our sleeves to coordinate and communicate what is needed,” said Paul Gosselin, DWR Deputy Director of Groundwater Management. “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.”
The state is maximizing opportunities to capture and divert water from this year’s record snowpack, providing multiple benefits – diverting high flows from rivers that would otherwise drain to the flood-prone Tulare Lake Basin, using recently fallowed or open and working lands, and pumping and spreading water to recharge historically depleted groundwater basins.
DWR’s Temporary Flood Diversion Equipment and Groundwater Recharge program and the actions by the Newsom Administration to support groundwater recharge are providing significant benefits towards protecting communities impacted by possible flooding and mitigating groundwater depletion over the past decades.