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Five projects aim to preserve groundwater and avert flooding in Fresno’s metro area

Fresno Metropolitan Flood Control District, the Fresno Irrigation District and the city of Fresno will provide $3.6 million as a match to $8.4 million in state grant funds for water and flood control improvements in the Fresno metropolitan area.
Fresno Metropolitan Flood Control District, the Fresno Irrigation District and the city of Fresno will provide $3.6 million as a match to $8.4 million in state grant funds for water and flood control improvements in the Fresno metropolitan area. Fresno Bee Staff Photo

Five projects that could help protect groundwater supplies and reduce flood risks in the Fresno metropolitan area will proceed with the aid of state grants that will fund more than two-thirds of the $12 million cost.

The largest of the projects, known as the Central basin, will add water percolation basins and monitoring wells on 100 acres south of Fresno at a cost of $7.9 million. The project area is west of Highway 41, east of Elm Avenue, south of Central Avenue and north of American Avenue. Other projects on the eastern edge of Fresno and east of the city would move storm runoff into water basins and store water.

The projects are funded under state Proposition 1, which was approved by California voters in 2014. The projects were submitted by Fresno Metropolitan Flood Control District, which also will get financial help from the Fresno Irrigation District and city of Fresno.

In all, the three agencies will pay about $3.62 million as a match for state funding of $8.5 million.

The Central basin projectis proposed to reduce overdraft of groundwater supplies. Building the basin will recharge an additional 2,592 acre-feet per year and much more during wetter years, according to Fresno Metropolitan Flood Control District estimates.

The three local agencies will pony up about $3.62 million as a match for state funding of $8.5 million to build the five projects.

A $1.65 million pipeline also is proposed between the Gould Canal near Clinton and McCall avenues and the Fancher Creek basin to allow the Fresno Metropolitan Flood Control District to divert runoff from uncontrolled rural streams that flow into the Gould Canal to hook into the McCall and McKinley avenues basin. By diverting the water, it will reduce flooding risks while holding water in the area for recharge.

A $1.3 million pump station also will be built in the Fancher Creek basin to move water from one basin cell to another and include a telemetry system, automated communications equipment to provide measurements to other locations for monitoring.

Two basin projects also are planned with the funding: A basin near Highway 180 and west of Temperance Avenue for $845,000; and a basin near Kings Canyon Road, east of Clovis Avenue for $840,000.

The Fresno Metropolitan Flood Control District is unable to route stormwater and recharge water to the two basins on the eastern edge of the city from nearby canals. A basin relief pipeline will allow the district to pump water from the basins during critical storms and route stormwater and recharge water from the canals to the basins during dry seasons.

To allow the basins to operate for flood protection and groundwater recharge, a pump station, internal basin pipelines and other structures will be built, district documents state.

“Using stormwater to recharge our depleted groundwater aquifers or replace precious drinking water to irrigate our green spaces are examples of how we can tackle water scarcity,” State Water Board Chairwoman Felicia Marcus said in a prepared statement announcing $105 million in grants statewide. “We will learn a lot from these projects, which will benefit communities throughout California.”

Proposition 1 provides more than $7 billion for water projects around the state.

Marc Benjamin: 559-441-6166, @beebenjamin

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