The Root Creek Water District (Root Creek WD, RCWD or District), located in southern Madera County, was formed to address the declining groundwater table in southeastern Madera County and to ensure a long term reliable water supply for all water users within RCWD. The District originally consisted of approximately 9,230 acres. Upon formation, the District began the process of addressing groundwater overdraft by monitoring and analyzing groundwater conditions and determining the water needs of the District. Ultimately, an urban development project located within the District, Gateway Village (now called Riverstone) provided financing for the acquisition of surface water supplies. Gateway Village was approved by the Madera County Board of Supervisors on September 11, 2007 and the District secured surface water supply is sufficient to reverse the groundwater deficit for the entire District.
In 2014, the California Legislature passed the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) that was signed into law by Governor Brown. The act requires that all groundwater basins in the state develop a “Groundwater Sustainability Agency” by June 30, 2017, a plan for groundwater sustainability by June 30, 2020 and achieve sustainability on or before 2040. From the commencement of the District formation process in 1994, RCWD and its landowners have been working to achieve essentially the same goals that are outlined in SGMA. The RCWD water plan adopted in 2007 includes substantive components of a local Groundwater Sustainability Plan required by SGMA to be in place by 2020. RCWD expects to have a fully implemented management plan and sustainable groundwater decades before most areas in the state. Most significantly, the RCWD plan does not require fallowing or retirement of any land either within or outside the District. The most valuable benefit all District landowners receive from RCWD is achieving early compliance with SGMA and maintaining the necessary local groundwater balance without devaluing property or reducing either agricultural productivity or urban development of land within the District.
The majority of the RCWD water demand and water deliveries now, and for the foreseeable future, will continue to be for agricultural irrigation. The District will also provide urban utility services to the Riverstone urban development, consisting of over 2,000 acres. At build-out, the Riverstone community is projected to include about 6,578 dwelling units, parks, schools, and commercial development. Root Creek Water District will provide water, wastewater, and stormwater management services to Riverstone.
To fulfill the District’s commitment to balance the groundwater supply to support all current and projected water uses within RCWD, the District pursued long-term water supply, water storage, and water conveyance (or “wheeling) contracts with the Madera Irrigation District, Friant Water Users Authority, Chowchilla Irrigation District, the Westside Mutual Water Company, North Kern Water Storage District and the Shafter-Wasco Irrigation District. Imported water will be delivered from Millerton Lake to the agricultural users via Madera Irrigation District Lateral 6.2 to Root Creek’s turnout into a 48-inch gravity pipeline that feeds the agricultural water distribution system in the RCWD service area. The pipeline was constructed in 2014 and delivered the first water supplies that summer.