Wednesday May 10, 2023

California Department of Water Resources

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) is implementing an emergency program to divert high river flows away from flood-prone Central Valley communities and into groundwater recharge basins. DWR is working with local agencies and equipment vendors to provide funding and secure much-needed temporary diversion equipment, including pumps and siphons, and will support their deployment by local agencies.

The first set of temporary pumps and siphons were deployed by Fresno Irrigation District on April 25, as seen in this video. The district is reducing downstream flood impacts in the Tulare Lake Region and expanding groundwater recharge efforts by diverting water from Kings River reaches to existing recharge facilities or working agricultural lands.

Here’s more information on how much water these pumps will divert:

  • The pumps being deployed are equipped with flow meters and range in diversion capacity from 5 to 50 cubic-feet per second (cfs) of water from high-flow rivers. One cfs is equivalent to a basketball-sized quantity of water passing every second. A single pump operating at 5 cfs for 24 hours moves approximately 10 acre-feet of water per day.
  • One acre-foot is about 326,000 gallons of water or the size of a football field with one foot of standing water. Most crops require roughly three acre-feet of water per year for every acre, and one acre-foot can supply nearly three households for an entire year.
  • There are 15 temporary pumps currently in the planning and deployment phase in and around the Central Valley.
  • Operating these pumps to divert water for the next four months could capture upwards of 55,000 acre-feet in spring runoff, alleviating flood impacts to communities and bolstering the amount of water stored underground.

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