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Irrigation in the Chowchilla region began in the late 1800's with artesian wells, but by the 1940's diminished groundwater supplies threatened the area's continued economic viability. The Chowchilla Water District was formed in 1949 for the purpose of furnishing a supplemental water supply for agriculture within its boundaries. Until that time, the District had been part of the Madera Irrigation District.

In the ensuing years additional acreage was added to the District. In 1988, the LaBranza Water District and Chowchilla Water District consolidated into the current “Chowchilla Water District”. In 1950 the District signed its original water service contract for water delivery from the Friant Division of the Central Valley Project with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. In 1968 the District signed a second water service contract for water delivery from the Buchanan Unit of the Central Valley Project with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

Since its inception, the District has provided consistent and reliable surface water to its constituents, resulting in improvements to groundwater conditions. The District services over 400 landowners on 85,000 acres of land in southern Merced and northern Madera counties.