Fresno’s groundwater supply gives city some protection from the drought
|By Mark Grossi, The Fresno Bee|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
Nature just dealt
But this city of a half million -- the fifth largest in
It's not all good news. The Valley's underground water basins are overdrafted and shrinking, a decades-long source of concern throughout this region. But groundwater remains a deep and enormous supply that still withstands a crisis.
"It's a big resource," said
In contrast, lawns will turn brown, plants will die and authorities will cruise the streets this summer to enforce an outdoor watering ban in
Outside of the Valley,
In another coastal city,
Which means nature stashes
Each acre-foot is about 326,000 gallons of water, or enough for an average Valley family for 12 to 18 months.
The state has a startling estimate for groundwater volume beneath the 1.1 million acres of the
That figure dwarfs
But underground water is not a bottomless resource, water leaders say.
"The water table throughout the district averages about 70 feet deep," said general manager
The underground water table rises during wet times and drops during droughts. With urban expansion and farming needs, the water table has been declining for years in many places.
The lower depth causes concern because it requires more energy-- creating higher costs -- to pump the water.
Water quality also suffers. Querin said the lower depths contain uranium, radon, iron, manganese and salts.
Water conservation is important, he said. Since 2008,
The use of area river water instead of wells also figures into
The plan is to add a
Shutting off many of
The city's water plan has been challenged by a local group opposing the doubling of rates to the public.
The group, led by former
Vagim said he does not oppose wise management of water, but says many of
"We need a broader discussion to make this fair," he said.
Beyond the political fight, though,
"Droughts are not a surprise in
The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6316, [email protected] or @markgrossi on
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