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MID ends its water season

Successful operations, along with recharge efforts, enabled Madera Irrigation District to manage water supplies for both annual grower deliveries and long-term sustainability, according to information from M.I.D.

The wet winter of 2019, and the management of those water supplies, allowed MID to have a record year. Heavy rains caused lakes to become encroached into flood parameters, forcing mandatory releases; MID took this as an opportunity and started its 2019 water season in early February. To encourage use of this early and plentiful supply, MID’s Board of Directors opted to provide water to its District growers at no charge through March. The District was able to operate efficiently and continued providing surface water supplies into the month of November 2019, making for a nine-month water season for the District.

MID was able to utilize almost 250,000 acre feet of surface water through grower deliveries and groundwater recharge efforts. To put that quantity into perspective, that is nearly half of the total storage capacity of Millerton Lake, approximately 520,000 acre feet, which serves districts from Chowchilla all the way to Bakersfield. As part of the recharge efforts, MID was able to keep its recharge basins full during the entire 2019 water season and made water available to its growers for their use as On-Farm Recharge. As an additional effort to maximize recharge, portions of the Fresno River within MID were utilized to convey MID supplies throughout the entire water season. This also allowed the District to free up capacity in the distribution system, enhancing deliveries to District growers.

In 2019, a significant number of MID growers have continued to increase their use of District surface water supplies. Approximately 125 additional turnouts, that had not been used in recent years, were rehabilitated and began utilizing District surface water supplies during the 2019 water season. This allowed MID to increase the amount of surface water provided to growers, shut off wells, and preserved groundwater for future dry years.

With the conclusion of the 2019 water season, MID has already begun preparing the distribution system for next year’s delivery season. Significant investment is being made this year rehabilitating and maintaining the District’s infrastructure. This includes repair or replacement of leaking pipelines and gates along with other general maintenance activities such as grading and restoring canal capacities. Following the extraordinary 2019 water season, we look towards 2020. Storms have finally arrived in California, and the District is hopeful that the 2020 water season will provide enough surface water supplies to allow District recharge programs to continue in addition to grower deliveries.

The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) Groundwater Management Plans (GSPs) will be taking affect in 2020 and the water management activities mentioned above will become critical in maintaining the District long term sustainability and compliance with SGMA.

MID would like to thank MID growers for their efforts to maximize the use of surface water in 2019, preserving groundwater for dry years when surface water is limited.

More information on Madera Irrigation District is available at

Groundwater management has been a large focus and achievement for MID in 2019.

Madera Irrigation District and the Madera Irrigation District Groundwater Sustainability Agency (MID GSA) have taken great strides in groundwater management in 2019. Along with completing the Draft Joint Madera Subbasin Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP), set for approval at the MID Board Meeting on December 17th, MID GSA has also worked with partner agencies in finalizing all supporting documents including the Basin-wide Coordination Agreement and Cost Sharing Agreements. The Joint Madera Subbasin GSP and Coordination Agreement are on track to be submitted to the State of California by the January 31, 2020 deadline.

MID GSA has been a main participant in groundwater related activities in 2019. As a lead partner in the Coordination Committee and Technical Expert Ad Hoc Committee, MID GSA has participated in a number of workshops, meetings, and outreach activities for the public related to the development of the Joint Madera Subbasin GSP. Additionally, MID GSA carried out over 30 outreach activities in 2019 to enhance the public’s awareness and knowledge of the MID GSA, the Joint Madera Subbasin GSP, and groundwater in general.

2019 has also been a year of implementation for MID and the MID GSA. In addition to the GSP development and outreach activities, MID and the MID GSA have actually completed projects towards meeting the MID GSA’s goals set forth in the GSP. In 2019, MID and the MID GSA completed the following:

Recharge project: Acquired a new 22 acre recharge facility

Recharge project: Parcel acquisition related to an existing recharge facility

Recharge project: Administered a 3,000 acre-foot On-Farm Recharge Program

Demand reduction: Detached 320 acres from the MID GSA

Groundwater management policy: Adopted an Intensive Groundwater Use Policy for the MID GSA

MID and MID GSA have achieved these accomplishments with the use of in-house staff, no additional staff have been hired by MID nor the MID GSA related to groundwater management. MID and MID GSA are proud of the accomplishments to date and look forward to continuing the trajectory of success related to groundwater management, said the information from M.I.D.

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