For Immediate Release
Contact: Diana Giraldo
Westlands Wins $3.96 Million from DWR’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Grant Program
Pasajero Recharge Project Will Increase Groundwater Storage, Reduce Overdraft, Recharge Critically Overdrafted Subbasin
Fresno, California (April 26, 2021) – Westlands Water District, which serves as the Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) for the Westside Subbasin, today announced receiving $3,962,000 from the California Department of Water Resources’ Sustainable Groundwater Management Proposition 68 Implementation Grant Program to fund the GSA’s Pasajero Groundwater Recharge Project. The Project is designed to reduce overdraft and improve local groundwater conditions by using excess surface water to recharge groundwater and increase groundwater storage, thereby reducing the risk of subsidence in the critically overdrafted Westside Subbasin.
“Given the impacts of climate change that produce extreme swings in weather and surface water availability, Westlands is continually pursuing innovative strategies to improve water supply reliability and sustainably manage local groundwater resources,” said Tom Birmingham, Westlands general manager. “Since its inception, Westlands has taken a proactive approach to groundwater management, and we’re grateful to have the Department of Water Resources’ support to develop the Pasajero Groundwater Recharge Project.”
The Project will be developed on a 60-acre site and will include construction and installation of a new pumping facility, approximately 60 dry wells and associated metering devices and new pipeline to deliver water from the Coalinga Canal to the facility and each dry well. Once operational, the Pasajero Recharge Facility is expected to store up to 3.5 billion gallons (10,800 acre‐feet) of water over a six‐month period when excess surface water supply is available, approximately every four to five years. The stored water would be made available for later use by water users in the area surrounding the facility. Project construction is expected to take approximately three years.
The Project is a key management strategy outlined in the Westside Subbasin Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) and the San Joaquin Valley Integrated Regional Water Management Plan to increase groundwater storage and levels. Westlands’ proactive groundwater management approach includes some of the most advanced monitoring, robust data and aggressive metering programs in the state to ensure that the groundwater basin is not harmed. Through the GSP, Westlands became the first water district in the state to integrate local groundwater resources into the District’s comprehensive water supply system. Westlands has been monitoring groundwater levels since the 1970s, and this robust historical data helped inform the GSP’s development to ensure sustainable management of local aquifers.
About Westlands Water District
Westlands Water District is recognized as a world leader in agricultural water conservation and has served the farmers and rural communities on the west side of Fresno and Kings counties for more than five decades. As stewards of one of California’s most precious natural resources, Westlands continually invests in conservation, and champions farmers deploying innovative irrigation methods based on the best available technology.