It’s important to remember that the reason much of Madera County’s groundwater table is falling is because a significant per- centage of our water is exported to the South Valley via the Friant-Kern Canal. That canal you’ve probably crossed a time or two is orders of magnitude larger than its junior partner, Madera Canal.
Rain and snow that falls in Madera County’s portion of the San Joaquin River watershed is going to farms in Tulare and Kern Counties. Madera County only receives a small portion of San Joaquin River water that rightfully should be ours.
Additionally, this year Millerton Lake water is being released down the river to provide irrigation supplies to the Exchange Contractors on the west side of the Valley. The Miller and Lux Company had senior water rights to water in the San Joaquin River, and those rights are held today by the Exchange Contractors. They agreed to give up their San Joaquin River water in exchange for water from the Delta-Mendota Canal.
With all the worries about a tiny bait fish, the Delta Smelt, no water can traverse the Delta to the pumps that fill the Delta-Mendota Canal. The result is that Millerton Lake water is being released to serve the Exchange Contractors who aren’t being served by the Delta-Mendota Canal because of the Delta Smelt.
Additional waters are being released for salmon restoration — another waste of valuable water.
Since Madera County agriculture produces products that are sold world-wide, the majority of the county’s income is from Ag. It is the basic building block of our local economy. Tell your elected representatives that Madera County agriculture depends on the San Joaquin River, and food and farms are more valuable than a long-gone salmon fishery or a bait fish.
Jerry Kazynski, Madera