Thanks to some much-needed rain, the Turlock Irrigation District will once again delay the start of irrigation season.
“We have decided to postpone the start of the season, again, until next week,” said TID Water Distribution Department Manager Mike Kavarian.
As of Tuesday, the irrigation season is now set to start April 10. The TID Call Center will open to begin taking orders on April 9.
However, Kavarian noted that the season’s start date could change yet again, should rain persist.
“We may push it back another week,” Kavarian said. “It all depends on what the forecasts are, and what we hear from customers.”
Customers have been supportive of the delays so far, Kavarian said, as they will allow TID to save valuable irrigation water for later in the season. Growers will be soft capped at just 20 inches of water per acre of land this year, less than half of the water available in a normal year.
The season was initially supposed to start April 3. TID staff then delayed the start one week to April 10, as many growers were utilizing district canals to convey pumped water.
The season is still set to conclude on Oct. 8, though that date, too, may change.
Some growers without pumps may have trouble with the delay, Kavarian noted. But most of those contacted were in support of the delay, which should allow growers to utilize more water in the heart of summer.
"There is a fine line,” Kavarian said. “There are going to be some customers that are going to be okay, and there are going to be others that aren't going to be so happy."
The district will still be cautious, even as irrigation season starts. The system will be ramped up slowly, using roughly half of the normal amount of water, so as to avoid spilling water should orders not materialize.
“The slower we bring it in, the more controlled it is,” Kavarian said.