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TID delays irrigation season, offers free water monitors
TID pic
During the TID Board of Directors meeting, Ag Flag representative Mike Hansen shared with board members and district staff the benefits of their newly purchased Ag Flag Kits. The kits will help local growers monitor water usage during the irrigation season, which was postponed to begin on April 3. - photo by Photo Contributed

Although the Turlock Irrigation District is still officially in a drought state of condition, recent rainstorms throughout the region has resulted in district staff delaying the start of the 2014 irrigation season by one week.

Originally set to begin on March 27, the upcoming irrigation season will still see the 20-inch allotment in place for local farmers despite the slight increase in water. As part of the initial resolution laying out the details for this year’s irrigation season, the TID Board of Directors included a provision allowing adjustments to either shorten or extend the season depending on changing conditions.

A slight increase in water, however, does not change the fact that TID is still amidst one of the worst droughts in the district’s history. The District still plans to continue water conservation efforts, in addition to expanding security efforts along district canals to ensure customers are using water both fairly and efficiently.

According to TID spokesperson Calvin Curtin, the TID Board of Directors opted to postpone the beginning of the irrigation season to April 3. As of now, Water Distribution Manager Mike Kavarian is still recommending the ending date of Oct. 8, however, Curtin says this is subject to change.

“TID’s Water Distribution Department Manager may adjust the end of the season as necessary, depending on weather or crop requirements,” explained Curtin.

Curtin also shared that the district will be supplying a low cost water management system called Ag Flag to help growers better monitor their irrigation. In light of the ongoing drought, the goal of Ag Flag is to eliminate wasted water resulting from over-irrigating by alerting the irrigator when the water reaches a “water shut off” location in their field or orchard. After purchasing 100 Ag Flag kits, TID is providing the materials to local growers, free of charge. Ag Flag kits are limited to five per grower, while supplies last.

The Water Distribution Department will begin accepting orders for the upcoming irrigation season on April 2, with deliveries scheduled for April 3. To order irrigation water beginning April 2, call the TID Water Center at 883-8456.