At the edge of the Central Valley town of Reedley, there’s a plot of ground that once grew 40 acres of green leafy peach and plum trees. It's here that city leaders hope to build an eco-friendly village.
Reedley has historically grown in a pattern of cookie-cutter tract homes, but City Manager Nicole Zieba says the plan is to change that. Her team is starting with what she calls a "big idea" to convert those 40 acres into an eco-friendly community called Kings River Village.
Clusters of solar-powered homes won’t have big yards, but instead will sport small strips of drought-resistant plants. The community will also have a ponding basin for groundwater recharge -- and estimates of the amount of water that could be recharged were surprising.
“What we found as we did a little delving into some of the studies was that the orchards would use more water than what’s envisioned to be used in this particular 40-acre development,” Zieba says.
But the project isn't without its critics. A lawsuit has been filed questioning whether the community will actually help restore the aquifer underneath the city.