City council approves monumental new water deals with the Fresno Irrigation District

PHOTO COURTESY OF CITY OF CLOVIS

The Clovis City Council voted to approve two new water deals with the Fresno Irrigation District on July 15’s city council meeting.

With a 4-0 vote, the deals were approved after 18 months of negotiation, according to the report.

City Manager Luke Serpa said that the approval was the first step toward compliance with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. (SGMA).

The SGMA is a law passed by the California state legislature in 2014 aimed at creating sustainable management of groundwater.

The first water deal enhances an agreement that has been in place since 1972 between Clovis and FID by increasing the city’s share of FID’s water from the Kings River from 6.12 to 7.12 percent.

The increase will translate to approximately 4,500 acre-feet annually, bringing the city’s supply from FID to 32,000 acre-feet a year.

As a result of the new deals, Clovis now has six main sources of water.

The FID Conveyance Agreement is the largest, providing 32,000-acre feet per year of water; followed by the Firm Water Supply Agreement which provides 7,000 and the Waldron Pond banking facility providing 9,000.

The remaining three sources: the Jameson-Boswell banking facility, Garfield Water District and International Water District each provide fewer than 5,000-acre feet of water per year, respectively, with the latter providing just 600.

Although the availability of water may vary from year to year, the agreements stipulate a certain amount of water be available regardless of circumstance, as the term “firm” in the title suggests.

Serpa said that overpumping of groundwater has largely lead to the need for new sources of water.

“We’re all working to figure out how we are going to manage our groundwater in a sustainable manner so that we don’t overpump.”

Paul Armendariz, assistant Public Utilities Director for Clovis, said the new agreements will not have an immediate effect on residents’ water costs.

Clovis will, however, have to pay $5,000 an acre foot to develop the firm water supply. The city will budget $35 million for the water, starting in 2020 and lasting for 25 years.

Clovis will pay $1.5 million annually from 2021-2030, after which the city will pay under $1 million annually until the agreement ends in 2045.