TID Abandons MID Water Purchase, Makes Own Water Available

Courtesy of TID Director Rob Santos

The Turlock Irrigation District will not execute an agreement to purchase irrigation water from the Modesto Irrigation District, TID staff revealed Tuesday.

The move follows a TID Board of Directors decision Tuesday to make 15,000 additional acre-feet of TID's own water available to growers.

The MID purchase, approved by TID directors on June 11, would have seen TID buy up to 7,000 acre-feet of water at a cost of $100 per acre-foot. Growers who opted to purchase the additional water would have borne all costs.

At the time of the MID agreement, TID believed that water 2013 runoff would be exceptionally low, leaving TID unable to adequately satisfy customer demand. But actual river flow into Don Pedro Reservoir has significantly exceeded projections.

"The current forecasts indicate that there will be more water in Don Pedro by the end of October than what was previously forecast in May this year,” said Tou Her, TID Assistant General Manager of Water Resources.

TID forecasts runoff using rain sensor readings and modeling curves based on past years' runoff. But because of the unprecedented back-to-back critically dry years TID had few years to compare 2013 with, leaving runoff forecasts hazy.

“If you forecast early in the runoff season, when the runoff hasn't materialized yet… there will be a margin of error,” Her said.

The new, 15,000 acre-feet of TID water will be sold to growers at a cost of $20 per acre-foot. TID General Manager Casey Hashimoto will be tasked with finalizing purchase details in the coming week.

Currently, TID expects to conduct a two-week signup period, running from July 29 to Aug. 9. Irrigators will only be able to sign up for the water in person at TID's Main Office, 333 E. Canal Dr.

Irrigators will be required to pay for water in full at the time of purchase. The cost is non-refundable, even if water is not used.

Any additional water purchased will not count against a grower's 34 acre-inch cap.

TID growers have currently used 49,000 acre-feet more than projected for this point in the irrigation season. About 65 percent have used more than 12 inches of water, with 140 parcels above the 34-inch cap.

For more information, call (209) 883-8356.

On Tuesday, Turlock Irrigation District Board of Directors also:
• Heard regular weekly updates on electrical service, power generation, and the status of the irrigation season.
• Continued the process to form a new improvement district, the Maciel-Petersen Pump, comprising 85.64 acres near Hilmar.
• Issued $65,295.19 in registered warrants to pay for the creation of the Pelliccia Pump No. 2 improvement district.
• Declared some property as excess, and authorized its sale.
• Discussed a case of anticipated litigation in closed session.

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