Despite groundwater sustainability plans, Bureau of Reclamation says capacity of Friant-Kern Canal could fall by another 10% in the coming years; impact could be felt by rural communities as well
TULARE COUNTY – Without the construction of the 152-mile Friant-Kern Canal in 1951 at the cost of $61 million, many of the best producing ag areas along the east side of the San Joaquin Valley would be out of business. That’s because farmers had pumped themselves dry by the late 1940s. Productive citrus growing areas like Orange Cove, Lindsay and Terra Bella have little groundwater available to this day.
The canal serves farms and communities from Chowchilla in the north to Arvin Edison near the Grapevine in the south. Its waters boost the area’s economy to the tune of millions of dollars.
As the Valley moves forward on sustainable groundwater monitoring plans and proposed pumping restrictions by district, the gravity-fed canal that is key to survival for 15,000 east side farms continues to be impacted by subsidence. Land near Porterville appears to be most worrisome where the land has sunk so much due to adjacent water pumping that the Friant-Kern Canal has lost 60% of its capacity to moving […]