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Water year below expectations, so far
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Turlock Irrigation District staff warned Tuesday that the water year has been far drier than expected thus far.

The accumulated rainfall for the water year is just .91 inches, just 35 percent of average for the close of November — 2.6 inches.

Though it’s still early in the water year, which averages about 34 inches of precipitation with the majority falling between December and February, the lack of rain could become a worry given the dry 2011-2012 water year. Even should average precipitation fall, less water than average will wind up in TID reservoirs; the dry ground will absorb more water.

TID entered this water season with less water in its reservoirs than usual, due to a dry 2011-2012. If dry conditions continue, it could take more than six years to refill Don Pedro — potentially with irrigation allotments of 30 acre-inches or less each year.

About one-quarter of an inch of rain is currently forecast for Thursday, which could start to set the year back on track.


TID continues budget work

The Turlock Irrigation District Board of Directors reviewed the 2013 budget proposals for the General Manager and Financial Service Administrations on Tuesday.

Like most of the TID budget, both administrations predict largely flat budgets.

The General Manager Administration eliminates an education specialist position, but adds three positions formerly in the recently-eliminated Water Resource Administration. The administration has just $50,000 in capital financing for whatever projects may come up; in past years, that money has been used to buy iPads for directors and digitize all agendas and meeting information.

The Financial Service Administration budget also remains flat, but contains significant capital project funding. A $1.3 million investment will be made to the District’s continuing effort to install Smart Meters across the TID service area. A further $750,000 will go toward software to manage the data generated by Smart Meters. Other major costs related to computer hardware, updating software for the new pay-per-usage irrigation system, and other assorted projects tally a total capital budget of $2.4 million just in the Financial Services Administration.

Detailed review of the Water Resource and Power Supply Administration budgets will follow on Nov. 6. Resource Management, Planning, and Rates, will come on Nov. 20.

TID Directors are projected to adopt budgets for the Walnut Energy Center Authority and the Tuolumne Wind Power Authority on Nov. 20. Directors are scheduled to adopt the full TID budget, including rate changes, on Dec. 12.