The Friant-Kern Canal. File photo.

published on April 23, 2021 - 12:59 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

As drought realities set in, money is flowing to water authorities to fix wells and watersheds.

Fresno and Madera water sources will get their piece of $26 million in grants from the State of California’s Department of Water Resources, according to a press release from the agency.

The money is intended to go toward overdrafted groundwater basins that communities rely on during times of drought. 

“California’s current drought conditions following a second consecutive dry year speak to the importance of managing our groundwater for long-term reliability,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth in a press release. “Today’s funding awards further the state’s support for local leaders as they manage their groundwater supplies, particularly supporting communities at risk of drought impacts.”

Sixteen individual construction projects will be funded in the Central Valley. Of those projects, one in Fresno County will construct 60 wells that will be used to replenish depleted groundwater aquifers with stormwater.

Another three projects in Madera County will provide access to aquifers on 45,000 acres of ag land. 

This month, the Friant Water Authority also approved a cost-sharing agreement with the Bureau of Reclamation to repair the Friant-Kern Canal. Bidding on the construction is expecting to be completed by summer and the first phase is expected to be finished by 2024. 

Federal funding passed by Congress in 2020 will provide $206 million. Another $125 million will come from an agreement with the Eastern Tule Groundwater Sustainability Agency.

Repairs to the canal could restore capacity by up to 60% in some areas, increasing flows from the Sierra Nevada mountains.

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