Recharge basin in Lindsay gets a new flow

(Provost & Pritchard courtesy of East Kaweah Groundwater Sustainability Agency)

Lindsay Recharge Basin adds hundreds of acre-feet of water to the groundwater aquifer each year with new improvements

LINDSAY – A recharge basin in Lindsay got its own recharge earlier this year thanks to a $544,000 improvement project.

Stakeholders – including the East Kaweah Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA), the city of Lindsay, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the Lindmore Irrigation District – came together on Aug. 9 to celebrate the improvements to the Lindsay Recharge Basin that wrapped up in March. The basin, which is spread out over 8 acres off of Highway 65 and West Mariposa Street, will help take advantage of wet winters and replenish precious groundwater supply.

“It’s a really good project; this is one that I think is long overdue,” Michael Hagman, Lindmore Irrigation District general manager said.

The project received $330,000 in funding from a DWR Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) grant, and the Lindmore Irrigation District contributed an additional $214,000 to the project, Hagman said.

According to a press release from the East Kaweah GSA, the basin will add up to 49 million gallons of water to the groundwater aquifer each year and will “directly benefit Lindsay residents, rural residents with domestic wells and local growers.”

“This project is a great example of state and local governments working together to invest back into our communities to capture and store as much water as possible during extreme weather events to replenish our state’s critical network of groundwater basins,” Paul Gosselin, DWR deputy director for statewide groundwater management said in the press release.

The press release said that water storage infrastructure was unable to capture all of the unprecedented rain and snowmelt runoff the San Joaquin Valley saw this year.

“Any water not captured is a lost opportunity to restore groundwater supply that is over-pumped during drought periods,” the press release said. “The completion of the Lindsay Recharge Basin positions the community to be readily available to capture water within the East Kaweah GSA boundaries, crucial for a future with sustainable groundwater supply.”

The improvement project consisted of two parts. First, they removed the top 18 inches of soil from the basin and then ripped up the bottom of the basin to start turning up the soil, “like you see the plowing of a field, only it (went) in 5 ½ to 6 feet deep,” Hagman said.

Hagman said this was necessary because of the basin’s original purpose as a storm drain.

“It takes water off the streets in the community, and it diverts it into that space and percolates into the ground,” he said. “The problem with water coming off the streets is it’s bringing in silt and other things (and) it reduces the efficiency of the basin.”

Water can now filter into the ground of the basin much faster, and the Lindsay Recharge Basin is in “a really good spot for providing water” based on the groundwater flow rate estimate, Hagman said.

The second part of the improvements was the addition of a pipeline connecting the Lindmore Irrigation District’s Friant-Kern Canal line to the Lindsay Recharge Basin.

Hagman said the irrigation district’s First Avenue mainline has a lateral pipe running off of it that stopped about 1,000 feet away from the recharge basin, and they had been thinking about extending it to the recharge basin for many years so that they can add freshwater to the basin as well as storm runoff.

The basin is estimated to put 150 acre-feet back into the groundwater aquifer each year, but Hagman said that based on how much water has already been replenished through the basin since March, they are probably going to hit 700 acre-feet by the end of this year.

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