Drinking Water

Residential Water Quality and Supply

Drinking water quality and surface water supply quantity will be significantly impacted by the state’s plan to divert local Merced River water away from eastern Merced County to the Bay Delta. This will affect anyone in the region with a water faucet in their home, as well as local farmers. Each year, water flowing through MID’s waterways helps replenish up to 140,000 acre feet of local groundwater. This surface water recharges groundwater and contributes significantly to maintaining useful drinking water quality to rural residents, small communities and cities alike.

Groundwater on the west side of the county, west of the San Joaquin River, is naturally saline, or saltwater. Fresh water flowing into the eastern Merced aquifer, through recharge, keeps the saline groundwater of western Merced County from affecting east-side wells. Should eastern Merced County lose its ability to replenish its groundwater through surface water recharge, the western saline groundwater would begin flowing east and negatively affecting regional drinking water quality.