Local Agencies Come Together to Deal with Regional Water Issues

Fresno, CA – A regional water agency has been formed to implement the Kings River Integrated Regional Water Management Plan with the vision of a sustainable supply of the Kings River Basin’s finite surface and groundwater resources. This will be accomplished through the development of infrastructure with a balanced approach that takes into account economic and environmental concerns.

On September 10, 2009, the Upper Kings Basin Integrated Regional Water Management Authority (Water Authority) held its formation meeting with full participation by the members that overlay the Kings River groundwater basin (see map). Representatives from several local water agencies and the cities of Clovis, Dinuba, Fresno, Kerman, Kingsburg, Parlier, Reedley and Selma met to create the Water Authority. Also sitting around the table were representatives from local environmental organizations and community service districts (see below for full list of members and interested parties).

The Authority elected Clovis Mayor Harry Armstrong as chair and Fresno Irrigation District General Manager Gary Serrato as vice-chair. Both Chair Armstrong and Vice-Chair Serrato have for many years provided strong leadership in water resource issues regionally for their perspective agencies. Armstrong also chairs Fresno County’s Water Advisory Committee

“The formation of the Water Authority is a significant event because it increases collaboration and creates regional water solutions,” noted Vice-Chair Serrato. Historically, the management of water resources has been limited to independent operations by overlying local water agencies and individual water users.

Prior to formation of the Water Authority, the members have been meeting together as a group for several years developing the Integrated Regional Water Management Plan, a long-term, basin-wide plan, and applying and successfully receiving state funding. To date, over eleven million dollars of funding has been brought into the region for planning and expanding local groundwater projects. Projects proposed for development in the basin-wide plan have been identified through an integrated hydrologic model of the Kings River Basin to determine the optimal benefits to manage and develop the surface and groundwater supplies in a sustainable manner.

Most recently, the Water Authority has a grant application to the state for approximately $300,000 to develop the North Riverside Park project. Proposed by the Kings River Conservancy and submitted to the Department of Water Resources by the Kings River Conservation District on behalf of the Water Authority, this project includes a 3-mile river access trail on the north side of the Kings River below Pine Flat Dam. One and half miles of the trail will be handicap accessible. The grant has successfully made it through round one of the Department of Water Resources application process, but the conclusion of the process is being delayed due to the freezing of bond funding by the state.

Members Interested Parties
Alta Irrigation District
Kings River Conservation District
Consolidated Irrigation District
Fresno Irrigation District
City of Kerman
City of Parlier
City of Dinuba
City of Clovis
City of Reedley
Raisin City Water District
Kings County Water District
City of Selma
City of Kingsburg
City of Fresno
Tulare Basin Wildlife Partners
Self-Help Enterprises
El Rio Reyes Conservation Trust
Riverdale Irrigation District
Laguna Irrigation District
Mid-Valley Water District
James Irrigation District
Liberty Water District
Biola Community Services District
Kings River Conservancy
Sierra Club, Tehipite Chapter
Crescent Canal Company
County of Kings
California Native Plant Society, Sequoia Chapter
Liberty Canal Company
Reed Ditch Company
Orange Cove Irrigation District
Riverdale Public Utility District
Orosi Public Utilities District
Cutler Public Utilities District
Laton Community Service District
City of Sanger