Jul 21, 2015 8:50 PM by News Staff
It's the largest irrigation district in the Sacramento Valley spanning over a 172-thousand acres. But in this fourth year of drought, the Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District is looking to drill more wells to help get its farms and ranches through future dry years.
But while district officials say adding five more wells to it's existing five is critical to the district and its water users, others who live in the area are concerned that giving the district the ability to pump more water out of the ground could make things worse.
A draft environmental impact report for the what is known as the Groundwater Supplemental Supply Project does note that the new wells could negatively impact the acquifer. However, the district says it plans to put in place ground water monitoring systems to keep a close eye on any impacts when any or all of the new pumps are in operation.
Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District was organized in 1920 and gets most of its water from the Sacramento River through water rights going back to the late 1800s.
Meanwhile, interested land owners and water users are encouraged to attend a public hearing Wednesday night to discuss the project's draft EIR. That meeting begins at 6 p.m. At the Ord Bend Community Hall off of Highway 45.
The district adds that groundwater wells are not intended to be used for transfers, but would be used to increase system reliability and flexibility; to protect and maintain agricultural production in times of water shortage; to periodically reduce Sacramento River diversions to benefit migrating fish; and to offset reductions in GCID Settlement Contract diversions during drought years.
District officials also point to the need for this flexibility when the Bureau of Reclamation had to decrease the agreed-upon releases from Shasta under the Sacramento River Temperature Operations Plan in June.
This was done to hold water in storage to be used to provide cooler water for the winter-run Chinook salmon in the fall. GCID and other Sacramento River Settlement Contractors had to further limit their critical year diversions and look for other means to irrigate the crops that had already been planted.