The Project is located in Tulare County, California, approximately 220 miles southeast of Sacramento and 45 miles northwest of Bakersfield. The proposed site of the Old Deer Creek Water Bank Project is located approximately six miles southwest of the City of Porterville on Assessor’s Parcel Number (APN) 302-020-013.
Additionally, the Project will lay pipeline extending south from the recharge basins crossing various APNs in one of the four following alignment options:
Alignment Option 1 – 302-410-011, 302-410-012, 302-430-008, 302-430-010, 302-430-011
Alignment Option 2 – 302-130-001
Alignment Option 3 – 302-410-011, 302-410-012, 302-430-008
Alignment Option 4 – 302-410-016, 302-410-010, 302-430-001
The Project proposes to develop and operate up to 50 acres of recharge basins for banking and associated facilities. The Project site is currently walnuts and will be cleared and developed in three phases with a pipeline going north to south for a distance of approximately one mile, connecting to an existing District mainline along Avenue 120. The Project will not include recovery wells and will be constructed in monitored phases to ensure that significant unacceptable water quality and water level impacts do not occur.
The recharge facilities will be operated in compliance with the SID “Policy Principles for Saucelito Irrigation District Groundwater Banking Program” (adopted on June 14, 2018, Banking Policy). The facilities will be designed, constructed, operated, and monitored in accordance with a water banking agreement between Capinero and SID (Capinero – SID Banking Agreement) as required by the Banking Policy (Project). In addition, the Project will be operated in compliance with the Eastern Tule Groundwater Sustainability Agency (ETGSA) Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP), submitted to the Department of Water Resources in January 2020, and the ETGSA Land Subsidence and Management Plan (“Subsidence Plan”), currently in draft form, once adopted.
As detailed in Chapter 2 of the Initial Study Mitigated Negative Declaration (IS/MND), there is a concern that Project recharge water could perch on fine grained layers and that this perched water might migrate beneath the Landfill. If Project monitoring, indicates that unacceptable mounding is occurring, Capinero may elect to install dry wells within the Project recharge basins to drain perched water down to the upper unconfined aquifer. These wells will be permitted and completed in accordance with Tulare County Environmental Health Division requirements.
It is anticipated that the Project will primarily bank Friant water. It is possible that the Project might bank water from other systems, but separate approvals will be required. As required by the Banking Policy, 10% to 30% of the recharged water will be allocated to SID’s storage account. All phases of the Project will convey and bank water from the FKC through SID’s turnout from the FKC through the existing pump station and be pumped through the new (or improved) pipeline facility to the recharge basin site. In all cases the Capinero’s ability to divert and convey water will be contingent on approval from SID to ensure that Capinero’s operations do not impair District operations and comply with District policies, rules and regulations.
The Project will not include construction of recovery wells. There will also be no recovered water returned to the FKC. All banked water recovery will take place through in-ground transfers, as described in Chapter 2 of the IS/MND.
Monitoring and Operational Constraint Plan (MOCP)
The Project will be designed, operated, and monitored in a manner to ensure that the beneficial effects of the Project are maximized while preventing significant unacceptable impacts to the aquifer, groundwater levels, groundwater quality, the FKC, or adjacent landowners relative to conditions that would have occurred absent the Project. A Monitoring Committee will be formed to ensure that district interests, adjacent landowners and FKC interests are protected. A full description of the MOCP can be found in Chapter 2 of the IS/MND.
Ground Water Monitoring
Ground water monitoring will involve water level monitoring, baseline water quality sampling, monitoring of each phase of basin construction and operation, annual monitoring, and water accounting and monitoring. Full discussion of each of these monitoring steps can be found in Chapter 2 of the IS/MND.