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Historic water year leads to extension of irrigation season
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The Turlock Irrigation District announced Wednesday that it plans to extend the irrigation season by two weeks. The irrigation season will now extend to Nov. 2, and the last day for growers to place an order is Oct. 30.

The district’s Water Distribution Department manager is authorized to adjust the season as necessary, depending on certain conditions. Herb Smart, spokesperson for TID, said that weather and water storage are both factors in determining when the irrigation season will end. If there is a period of steady rain in the last few weeks of October the season could be ended sooner. The extension of the season was granted in part because it was a good water year for TID.

“Because we had a really good water year it allows us to end the season with plenty of storage,” Smart said.

Water from rain, snow pack and late run off all contributed to more water storage in Don Pedro than in previous years. That excess water can be held over for the 2012 irrigation season.

“We are already starting off the next season in a good position,” Smart said.

The water year was so good, Smart said, that numbers indicate 2011 is already in the top 10 water years in the history of the district, which is around 125 years.

“The water year doesn’t end until Sept. 30. Where we’re standing right now, we’re already in the top 10, and we could make it to the top five. We haven’t seen a water year this good since probably 1995,” Smart said.

If all goes according to plan, growers can continue to place orders until Oct. 30. Irrigation will continue until Nov. 2, and on Nov. 3 the gates will close and the 2011 irrigation season will be over.

To contact Andrea Goodwin, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2003.