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News Release

For More Information: Cristel Tufenkjian, KRCD's Manager of Community and Public Relations, 559.237.5567, Extension 118, cell 559.906.2952

January 31, 2008

UPPER KINGS FORUM GRANT APPLICATION FOR WATER PROJECTS IS SUBMITTED BY KRCD

Fresno, CA - A major grant application has been filed by the Kings River Conservation District on behalf of the Upper Kings Basin Water Forum and two of its cooperating agencies seeking funds with which to develop additional groundwater storage.

A total of $6,863,682 is being sought as a Proposition 50 implementation grant. Local agencies would provide $6,607,030 in cost matching funds, according to David Cone, KRCD deputy general manager of Water/Environmental Resources and Flood Control.

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the State Water Resources Control Board in November invited KRCD and the Upper Kings Basin Water Forum to submit applications for a second round of Proposition 50 grants.

The process is part of the DWR's Integrated Regional Water Management Implementation Grants Program, which encourages regional strategies for management of water resources.

KRCD along with the Fresno and Alta irrigation districts propose to:

  • Expand the existing Kings County Water District Apex Ranch Water Banking Facility south of Kingsburg by 220 acres for recharge and recovery to provide an estimated 14,000 acre-feet of dry-year water yield.
  • Construct a proposed Traver Groundwater Banking Facility to capture available surface water supply during the project's first phase in order to help support a future surface water treatment plant that would reduce the use of lesser quality groundwater for municipal purposes.

Cone said KRCD is one of nine "Step 1" applications that was out of a total of 28 "called back" by the State to submit a second-round grant application. He expects the review and selection process to take up to two months.

Water Forum members have developed an Integrated Regional Water Management Plan for the upper Kings River region during more than two years of collaborative planning. The Water Forum is a multi-stakeholder group made up of local cities, counties, water districts and environmental organizations.

"Water Forum participants recognize the advantage of approaching prospective funding opportunities from a regional perspective," KRCD General Manager David Orth said. "This call back by the State represents the benefit of our integrated approach to water management."

Members of the Water Forum include the cities of Clovis, Dinuba, Fresno, Fowler, Kerman, Kingsburg, Parlier, Reedley, Sanger and Selma; the counties of Kings, Tulare and Fresno; environmental organizations including the Fresno Audubon Society, Sierra Club, California Native Plant Society, and the Kings River Fisheries Public Advisory Group; water agencies including the Fresno, Consolidated and Alta irrigation districts, Kings River Conservation District, Kings River Water Association, California Water Institute, Department of Water Resources, Department of Fish & Game and the Regional Water Quality Control Board.

As identified in the Water Forum's Integrated Regional Water Management Plan, overdraft of the groundwater resource is the primary issue to be addressed in the Kings River basin. Over the past 40 years, water levels in the Fresno area have dropped by 40 feet. In the Raisin City area, they have dropped by 150 feet. This is a result of water demand that has exceeded the available surface and groundwater supplies as they are currently developed and managed. The continued groundwater overdraft is not sustainable and the urban growth pressure in the region, coupled with the need to sustain the agricultural economy, calls for improved water resource management in the Kings River basin.

Orth said new water supply infrastructure is needed today to meet future demands from urban growth, environmental needs and agricultural usage. Having an integrated regional water management plan makes the Water Forum competitive for current and future funding opportunities from the State to support the construction of infrastructure.

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