As for larger, more complex and often controversial statewide water needs, Glaser observed, “There is no clear path.” Nor is there unanimity within the water user community on what needs to be done, he said. Glaser predicted, however, that a comprehensive solution lies ahead. “We will reach it because we must,” he said.”

Much of the project is located on the Madera Ranch property but there will be off-site facilities. The first phase of development is focusing on groundwater recharge and limited recovery facilities. Other work will include reconditioning, extending and expanding existing canals and ditches being used to convey water to and from Madera Ranch. Some 55 acres of recharge basins will be constructed on existing ranch farmland. A second phase will develop facilities for water recovery and supplemental recharge. That will include about 40 water recovery wells and 11 lift stations, the latter to be used to deliver recovered water within Madera County. Nine-tenths of the Madera Ranch property will remain habitat and open space.

The project will be able to recharge about 55,000 acre-feet of water annually (when available) and has a capacity of some 250,000 acre-feet. The project has been designed to protect neighboring growers whose farms also depend upon the aquifer.