Recharge efforts paying dividends in Central California

Facility diverts record-breaking amount of water for recharge

United Water Conservation District (UWCD) announced last week the Freeman Diversion facility diverted 148,000 acre-feet of water for groundwater recharge in 2023. The facility typically diverts an average of 60,000 acre-feet a year to refill aquifers beneath the Oxnard Plain and slow seawater intrusion.

“The Freeman Diversion is a vital tool for managing the region’s natural resources. It sustains $1.08 billion in annual crop production in Ventura County,” UWCD General Manager Mauricio Guardado said. “Our efforts to expand and enhance the facility are already making a difference, and we are eager to see how additional groundwater resources help the Oxnard Plain flourish.

UWCD built the Freeman Diversion facility in 1991 to redirect water from the Santa Clara River to percolation basins. In 2021, UWCD initiated a multiphase, $60 million expansion of the facility to ramp up its recharge capabilities. By 2036, UWCD estimates the expansion will increase groundwater recharge and in-lieu surface water deliveries by 10,000 acre-feet per year.

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