Historic Water Year Extends Water Deliveries to October 31
Bill Stretch, General Manager
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 16, 2023
Kings River’s 2022-23 Runoff Sets a Record!
The Fresno Irrigation District (FID) Board of Directors made the decision during their October 12 monthly meeting to conclude water deliveries to all agricultural customers on October 31. The eight-month irrigation season that officially began on March 1 was a relief for many after suffering through a severe three-year drought.
The Kings River runoff this past year (October 1, 2022 through September 30, 2023) was approximately 257 percent of average. By contrast, the 2021-2022 year was 47 percent of average, and FID was only able to offer a three-month regular irrigation season.
“Many growers took advantage of FID’s bountiful water supply this year and are currently making post-harvest irrigations,” stated FID General Manager Bill Stretch. “Looking forward, these wet-year, long irrigation seasons will be very important to recharge the aquifers and achieve groundwater sustainability.”
Stretch encourages growers to contact their Water System Operators (WSOs), so they may continue to irrigate their crops with surface water for the remainder of the irrigation season.
The Kings River 2022-2023 runoff record was due to the recent winter’s massive Sierra Nevada snowpack and significant late summer rainfall. The new record is estimated to be 4.5 million acre-feet, with the official final number expected soon. The previous record of 4.48 million acre-feet was set in 1982-83, with an average King’s runoff being 1.8 million acre-feet.
FID estimates that it will deliver a near record of 650,000 acre-feet of Kings and CVP water to its agricultural and urban customers, as well as recharge basins, by the end of this year. FID was able to utilize its 890-acres of groundwater recharge basins as well as an additional 1,970 acres of basins owned by the cities of Fresno and Clovis and the Fresno Metropolitan Flood Control District. Over the past two years, FID has purchased an additional 375-acres of property which will be developed into groundwater recharge basins over the next five to ten years.
Reflecting on this past year, Stretch was encouraged by the record setting surface water deliveries that began in January when many growers took advantage of the free on-farm recharge water. In future wet years, FID will continue to encourage growers to utilize surface water when available as well as utilize its expanded recharge basin program to capture additional flood water to help reach sustainability as required by the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).
FID will continue to convey water to the cities of Fresno and Clovis throughout the year to their three surface water treatment plants, which keep wells turned off and benefit local groundwater tables.
District crews will use the off-season shutdown to conduct maintenance, repairs and construct projects that will enhance the water system’s infrastructure for the 2024 season and beyond.
Since 1920, the Fresno Irrigation District has proudly delivered water to agricultural and urban communities within Fresno County. Today, the District encompasses over 250,000 acres of prime farmland and municipal areas, including the cities of Fresno and Clovis. As the premier irrigation district in the Central Valley, the District is extensively involved in a host of local, state and federal water issues.