on map for full view
of the Farmington Groundwater Recharge Program (Program) is to
recharge an average of 35,000 acre-feet of water annually into
the Eastern San Joaquin Basin, a groundwater basin generally bound
by Highway 99, Jake Tone Road, Mokelumne River and Temple Creek.
It is a region that for a half-century has seen groundwater levels
decline an average of 1.7 feet per year, with some areas dropping
to 100 feet below historic levels. Coupled with this overdraft,
it is estimated that the basin has lost up to 2 million acre feet
of storage capacity*. As a result, water quality has declined
as saline tainted water from the west has been moving eastward
into the basin at a rate of up to 150 feet per year.
The goal of the Program is to directly recharge surface water to the groundwater aquifer on 800 to 1,200 acres of land and increase surface water deliveries in-lieu of groundwater pumping to reduce overdraft and establish a barrier to saline water intrusion. Spreading water on agricultural fields and other recharge basins provides seasonal migratory waterfowl habitat.
provides a cost-effective and cost-efficient process where landowners
can participate through short-term and long-term agreements and
receive market-based compensation for the use of their land. It
is an arrangement that essentially allows the rotation of groundwater
recharge practices with traditional land use making water
a cash crop for Eastern San Joaquin County.
Ballard © California Academy of Sciences
method of choice is field-flooding, a practice where a small perimeter
levee is built at the parcel, then flooded to a depth of up to
18 inches. Because many lands in the region have a gradual slope
for drainage, typical 40 to 100 acre parcels will have varying
water depths ideal for a wide range of migratory waterfowl.
By applying this shallow-water recharge process, lands can be rotated in and out of the program quickly and economically. In fact, construction inputs for field-flooding do not require specialized heavy equipment and, therefore, can be completed easily by the landowner.
American River Water Resources Investigation, USBR, 1996