Clovis

Clovis partners with Flood Control District to help recharge aquifer

The City of Clovis continues to move toward the invaluable goal of long-range water security.

The City Council last month agreed to submit an application for a federal WaterSMART grant that would help recharge the city’s aquifer.

The Council also approved a deal that would have the Fresno Metropolitan Flood Control District implement the grant on behalf of Clovis.

We’re talking about better management of water logistics.

We begin with the network of flood control reservoirs on the outskirts of Clovis. It’s a robust system fed by a portion of that marvelous watershed we call the Sierra Nevada.

Weather patterns are cyclical. Heavy rain seasons lead to flood conditions. Tepid rain seasons lead to drought. Coordinating storage opportunities with supply opportunities leads to maximizing groundwater recharge opportunities.

The Valley’s pioneers knew all that. The hard part is making it happen.

That’s where the feds’ WaterSMART program comes into play. The program funds water supply, drought resiliency and water management projects across the Western U.S., says the staff report.

The staff report goes on to say that the Flood Control District currently collects data to support regional efforts to maximize the beneficial use of its flood control projects for groundwater recharge.

This is why, the report says, the District “has proposed establishing a weather monitoring network with the Big Dry Creek Reservoir watershed north of the City of Clovis.”

The WaterSMART program is administered by the Bureau of Reclamation. The program’s rules say a WaterSMART drought resiliency grant must go to a water supplier. The City of Clovis is a water supplier; the local Flood Control District isn’t.

Thus, we see the logic behind Clovis and the Flood Control District joining forces. Clovis applies for the grant. If the feds say yes, the District sets up and operates the weather monitoring network within its system of reservoirs. Clovis City Hall helps in this task any way it can.

The Big Dry Creek Reservoir at 2,800 acres is the largest reservoir operated by the District. The reservoir is northeast of Clovis.

The staff report says the District’s goal is to “operate the system (of reservoirs) in the most protective and productive way possible….” That’s why the District must “be able to anticipate large runoff events and carefully calibrate the water handling protocols to ensure that the District can both fulfill their duty to provide flood protection and capitalize on opportunities to hold stormwater to augment regional water supply.”

If the grant comes through, the District and the city would, among other things, continuously monitor weather and soil moisture conditions in the watershed.

In conclusion, the staff report says the grant would allow the city “to participate in research important to the capture and beneficial use of storm flows generated in the Big Dry Creek watershed…. Weather monitoring inside the watershed will facilitate the management of the reservoir for local water supply, contributing to the quality and quantity of water available to current and future residents.”

George Hostetter
George Hostetter is The Sun’s Fresno Civic contributor – covering the City of Fresno, County of Fresno, and Fresno Council of Governments.