The Porterville Irrigation District was formed in August of 1949, by a vote of the landowners in order to contract with the United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBR or Bureau) for a supply of water from the Central Valley Project (CVP).
The development of irrigated agriculture in the Porterville area started in about 1870. By 1901, over 5,000 acres were being irrigated by diversion from the Tule River and pumping from shallow groundwater.
In the fall of 1921, the State Division of Water Resources prepared its first ground water map of the Porterville area. At that time the mean depth to water in the area was 17.2 feet. By 1950, the depth to water within the newly formed Porterville Irrigation District had increased to 64.3 feet as groundwater was being extracted faster than it was being replaced through natural recharge.
Well depth measurements made by District personnel in the Fall of 1985 averaged a ground surface to water distance of 22.0 feet. By 2009, this distance had increased to 76.1 feet. Current depths to groundwater information are maintained by the Eastern Tule GSA.
December 1951 – USBR Contract Signing
BACK, L–R: R.M. Parks, Norman Castle, Ira Anthony and Attorney Erling Kloster
FRONT, L–R: U.S. Bureau of Reclamation representative, Morris Henderson and Virginia Falconer