Berenda Reservoir


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 water users. 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.

Public Access

Open days and times for the Berenda Reservoir is determined by the availability of water and the cooperation of volunteers and are subject to seasonal change.

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 season 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.

Use Fees

There are no fees to enter the Berenda Reservoir when it is open. If special events are held on the property there may be a fee associated with that particular activity.

Rules & Regulations

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 regulations.

The California 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 Users