Press Releases

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has introduced a measure to authorize a new water groundwater storage project to increase water supply for irrigation in California’s Central Valley.

“This groundwater storage project would increase the supply of new water for irrigation in California’s Central Valley,” Senator Feinstein said. “When completed, this project would supply enough water to serve approximately 18,000 to 36,000 acres of farmland in California’s Central Valley.

“Importantly, the Madera Ranch groundwater bank is consistent with the goals of the San Joaquin River Settlement, which dedicates a portion of the Friant area's water supply for fishery restoration, while requiring the development of a plan to minimize or avoid water losses to Friant farmers and communities.  Groundwater banking is one of the techniques that holds the greatest promise for achieving the Settlement's water management goal. It is very important to me to do what I can to help make up the water deficit for Friant farmers.”
Specifically, the bill authorizes the Bureau of Reclamation to participate in the design and construction of the a project to improve the water supply in the Madera Irrigation District in Madera County, California and in California’s Central Valley. When constructed, the Project will have the capacity to store up to 250,000 acre feet of water, and move up to 55,000 acre feet in or out of storage each year. This would be enough water to serve approximately 18,000 to 36,000 acres of farmland in the Central Valley, depending on the crops planted and local conditions.

Under the legislation, the maximum Federal contribution will be $22.5 million or 25 percent of the total cost of the Project, whichever is less. And to ensure the viability of the groundwater table and address overdraft problems, 10 percent of the water placed in storage would be left in the ground to replenish the aquifer over time. 

Representative George Radanovich (R-Calif.) has introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives, H.R. 1855.