The Turlock Irrigation District 2012 irrigation season comes to an end today.
After months of water delivery, the district’s projections for the season were nearly spot-on. Actual usage came in just 756 acre-feet of water below a projected 458,000 acre-feet irrigation season.
TID expects the total to climb a few thousand acre feet as it process the final few orders of the season, but will still end nearly on par with pre-season projections.
As expected, the TID call center was inundated with last-minute orders. Over 2,000 orders were placed in the final full week of the season, with 372 placed on Sunday alone – the last day orders could be placed.
“Everybody waited until the last moment,” said TID Water Distribution Department Manager Mike Kavarian.
Many TID customers called even after that final day to place orders, some unaware the call center is open seven days a week. The district forwarded those customers on to area water distribution operators, who will attempt to provide water as the system is lowered.
“If they can take care of the people, they’re going to try to take care of them,” Kavarian said.
The final orders will be delivered by Thursday and Friday through most of the system, with some orders along upper laterals to be filled as late as Sunday. The full shutdown of the system will begin Sunday morning, with the remaining water drained slowly through the system.
As water is drained, operators will be able to deliver water on a first-come, first-served basis to those whose orders were not placed as of Sunday. Those water deliveries will not be guaranteed on duration or flow, but will be delivered free of charge.
TID will also retain usage of rented pumps through the weekend, to help fill orders.
The 130 pumps the District rented from area growers provided about 60,000 acre-feet of water this year, helping to offset a historically dry 2011-2012 water year. Including TID-owned pumps, the district has pumped between 100,000 and 105,000 acre-feet of water this year.
That’s slightly below the District’s goal of 120,000 acre-feet, in large part due to the time it took to secure pump rentals at the beginning of the season.
Those rented pumps could come in handy next year, should the region experience another dry winter. The District enters the rainy season with water storage at its lowest point since 2008, facing irrigation allotments as low as 20 acre-inches, should no rain fall and no water be pumped.
“We have a good stable of pumps if, knock on wood, we have to do this again next year,” Kavarian said.