Berenda Reservoir is an
equalization reservoir that provides water for local farmers. It
is part of the Chowchilla Water District distribution network
that receives water from two sources - the Madera Canal from
Friant Dam and Buchanan Dam - through contracts with various
agencies, most prominently being the United States Bureau of
Reclamation. The network consists of 150 miles of unlined canals
and 49 miles of pipeline. There are over 950 turnouts where
irrigation water is delivered to waterusers. Water is released
seasonally into the network from mountain reservoirs at a
schedule determined by the Federal and State agencies.
The Berenda Reservoir
is located approximately four miles east of Chowchilla on Avenue
26. It situated on six
land acres owned by the Chowchilla Water District. The grounds
and reservoir are open to public use only during the water
delivery season and offer opportunities for summer recreational fun. The
site includes a Rotary Club BBQ shelter, Scout Island, a boat
launch, beach swimming areas, and restrooms.
Berenda Reservoir is only open during
days that are determined by the availability of water and the
cooperation of volunteers, therefore dates are always subject to
change. Generally the season lasts from mid-June through
The City of Chowchilla has an
agreement with the Chowchilla Water District to open for public
use and maintain the reservoir grounds during the summer when
the reservoir has water. Access to the facility is prohibited
when the reservoir is not filled.
The City of Chowchilla
has a sub-agreement with the Chowchilla Lions Club that
volunteers to open, maintain and oversee the use of the Berenda
Reservoir. The Club has full responsibility to open and close
the reservoir grounds per their defined schedule and at their
discretion. Generally, the reservoir is not open seven (7) days
a week, but the open days are generally weekends (Friday,
Saturday and Sunday), and Thursdays depending on Club members
At this time there are
to enter the Berenda Reservoir when it is open. If special
events are conducted at the property, however, there may be a
fee associated with that activity.
All boat operators, including operators
of personal watercraft (PWC), are obligated to follow all
California laws and regulations. Both boat and PWC operators
need to know, understand and follow the current statutory
Harbors and Navigation Code, will be observed at
all times on Berenda Reservoir. Restrictions may be imposed by
local authorities. It is the responsibility of boat and
PWC operators to check with authorities to become familiar with
the regulations and ordinances.
Per agreements with Madera
County and the Chowchilla Water District, the Chowchilla Police
Department has enforcement jurisdiction for Berenda Reservoir.
All accidents are to be reported to
the Chowchilla Police Department at (559) 665-8600, or 911 in
case of an EMERGENCY.
Special events may be regulated by
separate established policies.
Useful brochures for watercraft
Water Use Regulations
The following list of
rules and regulations are not all-inclusive but do highlight
those of utmost importance.
boating regulations in the
California Harbors and
are in effect.
All vessels, boats and personal
watercrafts (PWC) used in California must be registered and
numbered according to California law; valid registrations of
another state are recognized provided the vessel will not be
used in California for longer than 90 days.
Personal watercraft is defined as a
vessel less than 12 feet in length, propelled by machinery
designed for person to stand, sit or kneel;
California law requires that all
vessels must be equipped with a Type I, II, III or V U.S.
Coast Guard-approved life jacket for each person on board.
California law requires any person
aboard a personal watercraft, or being towed behind a vessel
must wear a Type I, II, III or V U.S. Coast Guard-approved
California law requires a vessel to
have a U.S. Coast Guard-approved fire extinguisher on board
and readily accessible.
No person shall operate any craft
under the influence of intoxicants or narcotics.
Persons under 16 years of age are
prohibited from operating any motorboat or personal
watercaraft of more than 15 horsepower.
A person 12-15 years of age may
operate a motorboat of more than 15 horsepower if supervised
by a person on board who is at least 18 years of age.
Maximum speed for all watercrafts
(boats, jet skis, etc.) is 35 miles per hour;
All boat traffic and boats towing
skiers and personal watercraft will operate in a counter
clockwise traffic pattern.
Jumping or attempting to jump the
wake of another vessel within 100 feet of that vessel is
Spraying down another person or
vessel is prohibited.
Operating at a rate of speed and
proximity to another vessel so that either operator is
required to swerve to avoid a collision is prohibited.
All powerboats and personal
watercraft must be off the lake waters by 1/2-hour before
No boating between
dusk, approximately 1/2-hour before sunset, and 8:00am.
No boats are allowed between the
shoreline and the Keep Out buoys.
No person will operate a watercraft
in designated swimming area;
Swimming is not permitted in No
Boating and No Wake areas.
Speed is limited by law for certain
conditions and areas. The maximum speed for motorboats
within 100 feet of a bather (but not a water skier) and
within 200 feet of a bathing beach, swimming float or
lifeline, passenger landing being used, or landing where
boats are tied up is 5 miles per hour.
The Berenda Reservoir waterway is
limited to 15 launched vessels at any one time (first-come,
first-serve basis); the number of vessels or speed
enforcement by the Chowchilla Police Department may be
changed to a safer limit for users on the reservoir, as
NON-WATER AND GROUNDS USE REGULATIONS
The California Penal Code, City, and
County of the California Code of Regulations. City Resolution
#36-99 establishes certain rules, regulations and fees for the
Code Chapters 6, 12, 12.24, 12.28).
The reservoir grounds and water opens
no earlier than 8:00am and closes at
dusk, approximately 1/2-hour before sunset.
Swimming is permitted in designated
Firearms are prohibited inside of
the reservoir grounds.
Speed limit for vehicles on a
roadway inside the park gate is 15 mph.
Alcoholic beverages are prohibited.
The possession of glass containers
No animals are allowed in park
during a special event; the City leash law pertains to all
other open hours of operation.
Open fires are prohibited.
is prohibited except for approved special events.
All vehicle code and state laws