First Recharge Fresno Pipeline Project Completed

Friant-Kern Canal Pipeline Conveys Water to Northeast Surface Water Treatment Facility

A milestone in the City of Fresno’s water infrastructure improvement program has been achieved with completion and activation of the Friant-Kern Canal Pipeline, the water pipeline that now captures surface water from the San Joaquin River and transports it to the city’s Northeast Surface Water Treatment Facility before delivery to Fresno homes and businesses.

“This marks an important step in Fresno’s efforts to ensure a safe and sustainable water supply for the City’s future,” said Thomas Esqueda, Director of the City of Fresno Department of Public Utilities.  “This is one of the major projects to be completed under the City’s Recharge Fresno program to improve the City’s water infrastructure, reduce dependence on groundwater, and maximize access to water from the Sierra Nevada Mountains.”

Prior to completion of the 4.5-mile long, 60-inch diameter Friant-Kern Canal Pipeline, the City’s Central Valley Project surface water traveled nearly 55 miles in open canals from Friant Dam to the Northeast Surface Treatment Facility.  The new pipeline now reroutes the water directly to the treatment facility, eliminating nearly 47 miles from the conveyance distance.  While this marks a significant improvement in operations, customers will receive the same high quality water already produced by the treatment facility.

The $15.6 million Friant-Kern Canal Pipeline will now serve as the primary and protected source of water to the treatment facility, enabling improved source water quality, increased reliability and greater flexibility in operating the facility.  The pipeline will require no pumping to reach the treatment facility, resulting in reduced operating costs.  The pipeline is also sized to allow for the future expansion of the treatment facility to its ultimate capacity of 60 million gallons per day.  The facility currently produces between 12 million to 30 million gallons of water per day depending on customer demands.

Construction firm Mountain Cascade, Inc., of Livermore, Calif., was awarded the Friant-Kern Canal Pipeline construction project in April 2016.  The project was funded through a combination of low-interest loans from the State of California Drinking Water Revolving Fund and water rates.  Despite last winter’s weather and associated delays, the project was completed safely and under budget.

The Friant-Kern Canal Pipeline is one of several projects that are part of the Recharge Fresno program.  Other projects include the 80 million gallon per day Southeast Surface Water Treatment Facility; the 13-mile, 72-inch diameter Kings River Pipeline; and 13 miles of regional transmission mains, all scheduled for completion in the coming year.  Together, the projects will capture water from the San Joaquin and Kings rivers, and treat and deliver that water to residents throughout the City, significantly reducing the amount of water currently being pumped from the ground, and ultimately enabling replenishment of that groundwater aquifer.