At its July 12 meeting, the Los Banos City Council approved a memorandum of understanding between the City of Los Banos and the Grasslands Water District regarding the Recharge Basins and Storm Water Capture Project, Phase 1.

Nirorn Than, City Engineer and Public Works Director, explained the proposed partnership.  “We want to propose to you,” Than said to the council, “an MOU as a partnership with GWD to look at a very exciting project for us that is going to be potentially funded through a grant to help us with storm water as well as our groundwater quality problems that we may face in the future.”

Since Los Banos is geographically located between two of the GWD’s canals, the Santa Fe and San Luis Canal, and owns 160 acres of the property that divides the two canals, GWD reached out to Los Banos to use that property for storm water recharge and flood management projects. According to Than’s presentation, GWD received a Prop 68 grant for $1 million in late 2022 to be used for water conveyance and water control structures.

“We do have funding in our budget to look at groundwater restoration and groundwater recharge projects,” Than said. “In partnership with Grasslands, now that they have that $1 million, we really want to get your blessing tonight to explore this because it has a lot of potential benefits for our city.”

Than explained that the proposed project can increase Los Banos’ stormwater capture capacity over those 160 acres, increase resiliency when dealing with floods, create a recharge capacity, help groundwater quality and convey water to the Los Banos Wildlife Refuge.

“I was very happy to hear this project being proposed because it shows collaborations with other organizations with the city to everybody’s benefit,” Mayor Paul Llanez said as the council approved the MOU.

Malina Duran

Malina Duran’s email is