This winter Madera County expects to see a lot of water in the Fresno River that runs right through Madera. Over the past year county workers have been clearing the river of weeds, bamboo plants and trash.
If an El Nino winter arrives as predicted they expect to see a lot of water flow through the river and many miles west to Firebaugh. But after four years of drought county leaders like Supervisor Rick Farinelli don’t want to see a drop go to waste. “The whole idea is to get the flow down from the mountains from the watershed that were gonna have this year down here to the Valley to bring surface water to ground water.”
Madera County is taking extra steps to recharge as much water into the groundwater table. The county is creating a new ponding basin in Madera Ranchos that can hold as much as five acre feet. Johannes Hoevertsz is Madera County’s public works director. “One of the best ways that we can do it is when we have excess runoff from rain we put it in a ponding basin or in a drain well and eventually they percolate back to the groundwater table and recharge so we can use it again.”
The county is also cleaning out debris in sloughs and culverts that can obstruct water flow if rain arrives this winter.