Though an extraordinarily dry year has left Turlock Irrigation District reservoirs well below expected levels, on Tuesday TID Directors will consider increasing the irrigation water available to growers.
The measure was brought forward by TID Director Joe Alamo, who has been optimistic about the prospects of offering additional irrigation water since a 30 acre-inch cap was set on Feb. 26.
“If we went wet from here on forward it would make a big difference,” Alamo said on March 12, shortly after irrigation season began. “Huge. … There's still a chance out there.”
But that rain has not materialized.
TID staff have previously advised against increasing the available irrigation water, as 2013 has been among the driest water years on record. As of April 30, just 23.38 inches of precipitation had fallen, 68.6 percent of the 34.19 inch average for the date.
Additionally, growers have used more irrigation water than TID staff had expected at this point in the season. The extra water usage comes as growers deal with hot, windy conditions.
During an April 23 TID meeting, Water Distribution Department Manage Mike Kavarian said he believed many growers were expecting this year's irrigation cap to be revised upwards from the 30 acre-inch limit set by TID directors.
“To me, it looks like people believe there's going to be something down the road,” Kavarian said.
At the time, Kavarian said there simply is not enough water to increase the available irrigation water.
“Somewhere, the train is going to hit,” Kavarian said. “We're going to have people hitting their max, and we're going to have to say no (when they ask for more water).”
Should the district use too much water this year, TID risks offering a miniscule – or non existent – allotment in 2014 and 2015.
“It concerns me that we're going to look at not having any water two years out,” TID Director Michael Frantz said on Feb. 26
TID staff will provide an update on current conditions before the Board of Directors will take action. The available irrigation water will only be increased with the majority of the board's approval.
On Tuesday, the TID Board of Directors will also:
• In a special, 8:30 a.m. closed session, initiate five cases of litigation, and conduct labor negotiations with the TID Employees' Association and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
Later, during the regular TID board meeting, directors are expected to approve a new labor agreement with the TIDEA. No information about the agreement, which would run through Dec. 31 2015, will be available until Tuesday.
• Approve executing Edison Electric Institute Master Power Purchase and Sale Agreements, which will increase the number of entities TID can buy power from and sell power to. The move could result in lower purchase costs, and more sales opportunities.
• Approve a new wind firming and shaping policy, which ensures TID will be able to obtain renewable energy credits from its Klickitat County, Wash. Tuolumne Wind Project.
• Hear regular weekly updates on electrical service, power generation, irrigation water availability, and the status of irrigation season.
• Continue the process to form a new improvement district, to be known as the Lucerne Joint Pipeline, comprising 451.01 acres.
• Consider issuing warrants to pay for the Miller Micro-Sprinker improvement district, and the Livak-Chipponeri Pump.
• Hear a regular monthly report on activities of the Water Resources Administration.
The TID Board of Directors will meet at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the board room of the TID main office building, 333 E. Canal Dr., Turlock.