Rainfall Even Further Behind Average

David Fransen

Another week, another forecast revised downward for Turlock Irrigation District water supplies.

Unseasonably dry months of January and February – historically the wettest months – have more than undone early rainfall. Year-to-date precipitation now hovers below 85 percent of average for this date.

That figure is only expected to fall in the weeks to come. Throughout the remainder of February, only another inch of rain is forecast in the TID watershed.

“February is one of our wettest months,” said TID Utility Analyst Jason Carkeet. “That would only put us at a couple inches of accumulation for the month.”

If rainfall is average from this point forward, TID could still have an uncapped irrigation season. But if the weather continues to be dry, growers likely face a 36-inch cap.

Should drought conditions continue in years to come, allotments would drop rapidly. Next year could see a 32-inch cap, followed by a 30-inch cap, then 24-inch caps for the foreseeable future.

On Tuesday, the Turlock Irrigation District Board of Directors also:
• Heard weekly updates on electrical service and power generation.
• Approved adding two new job classifications, for Chief Dam Safety Engineer and Power Plant Engineering Department Manager. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission “strongly recommends” utilities employ a dam safety engineer. Currently, responsibilities for both jobs are shared among several employees.
Directors also revised job descriptions for the Assistant General Manager of Consumer Services, the Director of Water Resources and Regulatory Affairs, power generation engineers, and warehouse workers to reflect actual work duties.
A second resolution amended TID's agreement with its labor union to include the job classifications in appropriate pay ranges.
• Canceled the TID board meeting of Feb. 19, due to the Presidents' Day holiday.
• Approved a request to install a 12-inch sidegate in the Upper Lateral 2 canal to serve 29 acres of new almond trees, owned by Steve Scheuber. He will install a micro-sprinkler system to irrigate.
• Heard a report on activities at the Don Pedro Board of Control. The Board has applied for a federal grant to perform an upgrade to the Blue Oaks boat launch ramp. The upgrade would occur in roughly five years.

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