The Turlock Irrigation District Board of Directors is expected to approve a very dry 2014 Irrigation Season on Tuesday morning, taking note of ongoing drought conditions.
District staff are recommending a water cap of 20 inches per acre – less than half of the water available in a normal year. Even that miniscule allotment would essentially empty TID’s Don Pedro Reservoir this year, should conditions continue to be dry.
The cap would, however, be a “soft cap,” and growers would be allowed to complete a final irrigation even if doing so would use as many as 4 acre-inches of water more than allotted.
The season would start on March 27, and end Oct. 8. The first day to place water orders would be March 26. The start and end date of the season may be adjusted as necessary, however.
Prior to approving the irrigation season, directors are scheduled to consider a resolution proclaiming that TID is officially in a drought state of condition, following the driest three-year period in district history. Furthermore, the water which has flowed down the Tuolumne River – TID’s source of water – has totaled just 10 percent of the historical average.
The drought is expected to impact electric customers as well, driving up TID’s costs to produce electricity.
“The extremely dry conditions will negatively impact TID’s hydroelectric generation capability and force the district to find alternative resources that may be more expensive than the district’s cost-effective hydroelectric power,” a staff report reads.
The drought declaration notes that TID will deliver water as efficiently as possible, balance between short- and long-term goals, strictly enforce rules regarding water theft, and develop plans to conserve water wherever possible.
The resolution follows Gov. Jerry Brown’s declaration of a state of emergency due to drought, issued Jan. 17.
The TID Board of Directors will meet at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the boardroom of the TID Main Office Building, 333 E. Canal Dr.