Turlock farmers who are looking to finish out their 2013 crops but are worrying about the necessary water to do so, may be in luck.
In a historic 4-1 decision, the Turlock Irrigation District Board of Directors approved a resolution that would authorize the purchase of up to 7,000 acre feet of surface water from neighboring Modesto Irrigation District.
The purchased water will be available for interested farmers at $100 per acre foot.
Tou Her, assistant general manager of water resources at TID, presented the resolution to the board Tuesday morning, stating that the decision to request water from MID came after a series of talks with district officials.
“We’re doing what we can to manage and control our water resources,” said Her. “But at the same time we are looking at the potentials of obtaining supplemental water."
Her emphasized that the requested water will be of optional use for farmers and that only those who “take the water will pay for the water.”
However, some members of the board felt apprehensive about the proposed resolution.
Ron Macedo, board VP, said that further work needed to be done to understand the implications of the resolution, before a decision should be made.
“For one quick fix you’re risking so many things going forward,” said Macedo. “I don’t think we all completely understand it.”
Other members of the board also voiced concern in regards to how the water will be allocated and evenly distributed to those looking to use it.
“They’re going to have to come out with some sort of allocation,” said director Charles Fernandes. “It has to be divided equally amongst those who want it. “
TID estimates that those irrigators who use 47 inches of water per year will be able to use the approved water on over 20,000 acres of land, which would translate to 4.2 inches of irrigation.
Despite the concerns of allocation, TID Board President Michael Frantz said the proposed water is a necessary option for the district's farmers.
“Maybe I’m naive, but for me it’s a real simple issue,” said Frantz. “I just can't imagine in a critically dry year turning down our farmers from water.”
Concurrent with TID’s meeting, the MID also approved the resolution to sell the water to TID on Tuesday morning.
According to state law, the allocated water will be available for distribution 35 days after Tuesday's decision.