The Chino City Council on Tuesday night approved selling 3,500-acre-feet of surplus groundwater to the Fontana Water Company for more than $2 million.

The water agency is one of several that provide water to customers in the city of Fontana.

An acre-foot is equivalent to 325,851 gallons of water, so the deal would involve more than 1.14 billion gallons of water.

As of June 2019, the city of Chino’s stored groundwater reserves totaled approximately 120,000-acre-feet, which is equivalent to 31.1 billion gallons of water. 

The transaction between Chino and the Fontana Water Company is subject to approval by the Chino Basin Watermaster, which monitors groundwater production by cities within its jurisdiction and keeps track of their underutilized groundwater production rights, which cities may sale or keep for future use. 

Chino staff members expect it will take several months for the Watermaster to evaluate and decide on the transaction. If the Watermaster approves the deal, the Fontana Water Company will have 30 days to make payment to the city of Chino.

Chino’s Public Works Director Amer Jakher, in a report to the council, said the city’s groundwater production for the next several years is anticipated to be high enough to make surplus available for sale or other utilization. 

Mr. Jakher said that while that trend is expected to continue for some time, groundwater surplus is expected to gradually diminish as water demands associated with land development increase.

“The city is fortunate to be in a position where it can convert some of its surplus groundwater production rights into a source of revenue for the water fund while still retaining a significant amount of water in storage for use in the future,” Mr. Jakher said in the report.

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