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The District receives water from two sources; Madera Canal and Buchanan Dam. The District utilizes portions of the Chowchilla River, Ash Slough and Berenda Slough to convey irrigation water to the District's irrigation water distribution system, which consists of 150 miles of unlined canals and 49 miles of pipeline. There are over 950 turnouts where irrigation water is delivered to waterusers. The District utilizes various water management techniques and facilities to deliver water efficiently and accurately to its waterusers. These facilities include; measurement weirs, water meters, rated canal gates, regulating reservoirs and ponds, long-crested weirs, ITRC flap gates and the District’s SCADA system. All water released to the District, delivered to waterusers and leaving the District is measured and recorded in the District’s database.


The District has a modified-demand delivery system. Waterusers call the District before 1:00 p.m. and request a start time or inform the district of a stop time for their turnout(s) for the next day. The Ditchtenders all meet at 1:30 p.m. to coordinate and schedule water deliveries for the next day. The District then calls the wateruser back and tells him the time he will be able to start. Over 90 percent of water deliveries are scheduled to start within one hour of the requested time. Flexibility is allowed in the water ordering process for extending an irrigation a few hours or shutting off earlier than requested.

The District’s irrigation distribution system is divided into seven subsystems that are operated by seven Ditchtenders. It is the responsibility of the Ditchtender to operate his subsystem to provide for adequate water to be present at the turnout during a waterusers’ scheduled irrigation and at the same time to avoid excessive spill from the canal. One of the Ditchtenders also serves as the Senior Ditchtender. Besides running his own subsystem, the Senior Ditchtender oversees distribution of water flows to each of the subsystem with the District’s SCADA system.


Portions of the irrigation water distribution system were built by Mutual Water Companies that were in place prior to formation of the District. The remainder of the irrigation distribution system was built by the District by way of contractors. District employees complete almost all of the maintenance and construction required by the District. The District has a program for routinely inspecting and scheduling maintenance of each component of the irrigation water distribution system.

In our ongoing efforts to maintain a high standard of quality work and delivery system, on May 11, 2022 CWD Board of Directors adopted Standard Specifications and Drawings which will be used in the design and construction of public improvements within the district.  The Standard Specifications and Drawings are available for view at the following link.

Standard Specifications and Drawings