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TID water measurement project takes off

TID water measurement project takes off

According to TID staff, the majority of the parcels in the district will be measured with a Rubicon Slip Meter, which is considered permanent, with no sidegate involved. After installation, the sl...

POSTED February 18, 2014 5:59 p.m.

Under a corrective action plan required by the California Department of Water Resources, the Turlock Irrigation District has begun installing water metering equipment throughout the district, aiming to have every parcel metered by 2015.

As part of the Water Conservation Act of 2009, also known as SBx7-7, agricultural water suppliers serving more than 25,000 acres must charge customers based on the actual volume used and within a specific accuracy tolerance. To comply with the law, TID began its Water Measurement Project which would see every parcel within the district metered over the course of two years. With half of the parcels set to be metered by the end of the 2014 irrigation season, and the remaining half by the end of 2015, the district has already made significant progress in meeting the law’s requirements.

Since the law does not list a specific type of meter that must be used, the District is utilizing various measurement tools and meters based on which options cause the least amount of hindrance for irrigation deliveries.

According to TID staff, the  majority of the parcels in the district will be measured with a Rubicon Slip Meter, which is considered permanent, with no sidegate involved. After installation, the slip meter will act as the gate. While using the slip meters, customers can enter a flow rate to be delivered by the slip meter, while also being able to enter a stem height with the gate remaining at the specified height regardless of the flow. With 2,900 parcels falling into the slip meter category, nearly 51 percent of TID's parcels will be measured in this form.

If not serviced by a flume or slip meter, such pipelines and ditches throughout the district will utilize a combination of meters made by Marsh McBirney and Sontek. As mobile meters, the Marsh McBirney option would include having a member of the TID Water Distribution Department measure some deliveries by placing the meter inside a vent while a parcel is irrigating. The Sontek meter, which would be permanently installed, would be placed in a location upstream of all field valves so that all parcels can be measured. Additionally, irrigators utilizing drip or sprinkler irrigation systems will be measured as well.

As TID hopes to have much of the metering in place before the 2014 irrigation season begins,  staff have reported that 23 of 67 slip meters have been installed to date on 10 canals, with only 20 percent of the sites needing modifications – half of the district’s original projection.

“We were able to save quite a bit of money in that regard,” said TID Water Resources Department staff.

TID staff also shared that due current drought conditions, and with irrigation in high demand, some slip meter sites may be postponed until next winter.

Mike Kavarian, water distribution manager, said that this is the first time the District has required meters. Although many of the District’s farmers and landowners do have existing meters, this was simply at the request of the district – not a state requirement.

After all the meters are placed, each parcel within the district will be viewable on a live-data reporting system. Each site will additionally be equipped with a remote surveillance system, notifying TID staff immediately via email should there be any issues.

As part of customer outreach, the District has created a new page on their website with information on the water measurement plan, in addition to tutorial videos on how to operate the Rubicon gates and meters in English, Spanish and Portuguese. TID staff will also provide hands-on training, however, this is on a case-by-case basis.

To learn more about TID’s water management plan and measurement efforts, visit

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