Fresno, California — The rain that’s been falling is finally paying off.
The city is using about $1.5 billion in rainwater that’s gathered at a new reservoir and pumping it out into the San Joaquin River and other streams in the drought-stricken city.
Fresno has been getting its water from the water stored at the Lake Oroville Dam in the Sierra Nevada foothills, but that water is being diverted into an underground aquifer that is being treated for heavy metals and chemicals.
As the city tries to use the water, the reservoirs are slowly pumping out more rainwater to fill the gaps.
“The first thing we did was put the dam up,” said Doug Miller, a spokesman for the city’s water agency.
“Then we added a storage reservoir.
That was the biggest one we’ve ever done.”
The reservoirs are located just south of the intersection of Interstate 10 and Interstate 80.
They were built in 1972 and 1990, respectively, to help keep water flowing from the reservoir at Lake Oroldo to the Sacramento Valley and other cities.
Now, the city has installed more than 100 water reservoirs, some of which hold about 2,500 acre-feet (a third of the state’s total water), and is using more rain and other water to meet demand.
That means Fresno is pumping more water out of its reservoirs to meet future demand.
“That’s been a very big deal,” said David McBride, a professor of engineering at the University of California, Irvine.
There’s a lot of water that’s already been pumped out of the reservoirs and stored,” he said.
We’re seeing a lot more of that rain that is coming into the reservoirs, and we’re seeing water being added to the reservoirs to help them fill.”
Fresnobee has used about 1,000 acre-foot of water from Lake Orolund since the beginning of this year.
The city is currently using nearly 400 acre-fees a day.
Since the start of the drought, the amount of rainwater in the reservoirs has risen from 1.1 million acre- fds in February to 2.3 million acre fds now, according to the city.
That is a lot less than the city was using a year ago.
That’s partly because the reservoirs have become more efficient.
But it’s also because the city is now using more water than was used a year earlier.
“The reservoirs were designed for one year, and they’ve done a better job of using that rainwater than they did a year before,” Miller said.
“We’re getting more of it now, and it’s saving us money.”
Fires are now the norm in Fresno, as a result.
In the past, the water from those reservoirs could burn up in the city and leave behind toxic sludge.
But the city now has installed a system that keeps the water in the storage reservoirs from entering the city or contaminating the groundwater.
That means the sludge from burning up is being replaced by water that is still safe for use, according of Miller.
Miller said that the city also has been reducing the amount and frequency of leaks from the reservoirs.
If a leak is detected, the system stops the flow and pumps it out again.
At least, that’s the hope.
Some residents of Fresno aren’t happy with the new reservoirs.
“I think they’re doing a great job,” said Steve Smith, who lives on the city side of town.
“But we’ve had more leaks than we’ve seen.”
Fellow resident Kevin Wilson disagrees.
“They’re trying to use more water and less water,” he told ABC News.
“It’s like the old saying, you can have too much water, but you can’t have too little.”
Smith says the city should use more of its water.
For example, the government should use its water to water the city from outside, he said, rather than from inside.
“We have a lot in the reservoir and they’re pumping it outside,” Smith said.