The Friant-Kern Canal. File photo.

published on September 21, 2020 - 1:48 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

The federal government has taken another step toward fixing the Friant-Kern Canal.

The Bureau of Reclamation Friday released the environmental impact review on what it would take to fix a 33-mile stretch of canal.

Since the project was completed in 1951, the canal has lost upwards of 60% of delivery capacity along certain stretches of the waterway, according to a press release from the Bureau of Reclamation.

The main culprit is subsidence attributed to overdraft of the underground water aquifer, causing the land to sink.

The project would restore capacity from 1,600 cubic-feet-per second to the original 4,000 cubic-feet-per second at what the Bureau has determined to be the most critical area — the Deer Creek check structure in Tulare County.

“Having the full capacity of the Friant-Kern Canal is not only critical to support the long-term sustainability of the Friant division and the more than one million acres of productive farmland it supports, it is also critical for the entire San Joaquin Valley’s efforts to balance its groundwater resources,” said Jason Phillips, CEO for the Friant Water Authority.

Estimates to fix the canal range from $400 million to $500 million, according to the Bureau of Reclamation.

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