The Freeman Diversion facility is a critical component of UCWD’s mission to manage and enhance the region’s natural resources.
UCWD built the Freeman Diversion to redirect water from the Santa Clara River to spreading basins for groundwater recharge. The 25-foot-high Vern Freeman Diversion spans 1,200 feet across the Santa Clara River.
The facility includes a fish ladder, which allows unimpeded migration of steelhead trout upstream, and a screened fish bay, which keeps fish out of the canals and recharge basins.
Since its construction in 1991, the facility has diverted an average of 60,000 acre-feet a year for groundwater recharge, replenishing the aquifers beneath the Oxnard Plain and slowing seawater intrusion beneath 50,000 acres of productive prime agricultural lands.
The water that UWCD diverts to recharge groundwater also benefits municipal users in the cities of Oxnard, Port Hueneme and Ventura, which have wells that draw on those aquifers.