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SSJID may pump $6M more into local economy

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POSTED August 25, 2009 2:42 a.m.
The South San Joaquin Irrigation District is continuing its efforts to help pump up the economy while getting the best bang for the buck as they upgrade the agricultural water delivery system.

The board is meeting today at 9 a.m. in the district office, 10011 E. Highway 120, to consider approving $6 million of improvements to the irrigation system. It includes eight pipeline replacement projects, four canal improvement projects, seven pipeline connection projects, and four box replacement projects.

The Manteca-based firm of MCR Engineering is expected to be awarded the $343,735 contract for all of the engineering related work.

It is part of the SSJID board’s ongoing effort to put the power of water – and the financial strength it has brought to the district over the past century – to work to help strengthen the communities of Manteca, Ripon, and Escalon.

It is in addition to other initiatives now underway including $10 million to pressurize the SSJID’s delivery system in District 9 - the area west of Ripon and south of Woodward Avenue to the Stanislaus River.

There are serious concerns about salt in the soils – a condition that is lethal to trees and plants – in that area of the district.

Because it is at the end of the SSJID system, the district oftentimes has difficulty getting enough water to serve farms in the area. As a result, the SSJID pumps water from the ground in the area to supplement water runs.

That creates a problem as salt-laden water is in the aquifers.

Farmers need to be able to flush the soil with enough water to push the salts down and away from the roots. That sends it down to the water table the SSJID does their supplemental pumping from. That in turns puts salt-laden water directly on the crops or tree roots.

A closed system would eliminate the need for pumping by sending water under pressure to the far reaches of the district.

The SSJID also is moving forward with its effort to use Tri-Dam receipts to enter the retail power business in a bid to reduce power costs 15 percent across the board in Manteca, Ripon, and Escalon.

If it gets the green light from the San Joaquin Local Agency Formation Commission, the SSJID takeover of retail power could put $140 million back into the pockets of local electricity consumers over the first 10 years.
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