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Turlock farmers to benefit from rainy winter

POSTED March 16, 2010 9:17 p.m.
Irrigation season starts on Thursday for thirsty farmers in the Turlock Irrigation District, and good news is already trickling down from the Department of Water Resources on the snowpack levels that determine the amount of water farmers will receive.
“We will have a full allotment, however the maximum water available is yet to be determined,” said TID General Manager Larry Weis.
The District establishes its allotment based on data in the March DWR snow survey, which was released on Tuesday but not in time to offer a projected allotment for the Board of Directors’ meeting.
According to the Water Conditions in California report, statewide precipitation and snowfall are at 105 percent of normal for this point in the year, better than the 80 percent mark hit a year ago. Statewide water runoffs to date sit at 65 percent of normal.
The San Joaquin hydrologic region is at 105 percent of average to date precipitation. The Tuolumne River, TID’s primary source of irrigation water, currently stands at 96 percent of average to date snowmelt runoff.
Regardless of what the final allotment may be, beginning at 7 a.m. today, growers may place irrigation water orders by contacting the TID Call Center at 883-8456.
The 2010 TID allotment will cost $26 per acre. If additional water is available beyond the allotment, growers will be charged $15 for the first acre-foot and $20 per acre-foot thereafter.
The 2009 allotment initially offered 33 inches of water at $23 per acre, with 15 additional acre-inches available. As a result of the rainier than expected end to the 2009 season, the allotment was ultimately increased to 48 inches for $23 per acre, with a cap of 54 inches.
To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail acantatore@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.

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