After a workable solution was found for farmers in need of water, the Turlock Irrigation District announced the 2011 irrigation season will be extended no further: tonight marks the official close of the season.
The move comes despite calls made by farmers a week ago to extend the season, due to a growing season delayed by a late start to summer and cold spells in September. At that time, the district said it would consider extending the season for another few days, should enough farmers request it, to aid growers in need of one last water delivery.
An extension to the season turned out to be unnecessary, as farmers in need of additional water will be served by allowing existing water to slowly run through the system, TID said.
According to TID spokesman Herb Smart, about 15 growers called the district in the past week to voice a need for irrigation water following today’s deadline. But due to the location of those farmers on the TID canals, the district expects to be able to meet those needs even after the system shuts down Thursday morning.
“Most growers will be able to get the water they need without extending the season further,” Smart said.
The district expects to allow water to slowly drain from the system, with water gates at Turlock Lake closing Thursday morning. Water deliveries will be available to some farmers located on laterals away from the main canals as late as this weekend while the system empties.
The season was already extended once, from a planned Oct. 19 close to today, due to a historically rainy water year. The district had concerns with extending the season further as such a move might have interfered with TID’s canal maintenance schedule, much of which must be completed before this year’s rainy season begins.
Tonight’s close of the irrigation season marks the latest close to the season in TID history.
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