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SSJID may opt for crop moisture mointoring
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South San Joaquin Irrigation District may take its commitment to maximize water supplies to the next level.

The board on Tuesday will consider Director Dave Kamper’s proposal to implement a moisture monitoring program. The board meets at 9 a.m. at the district office, 11011 East Highway 120.

Kamper believes the SSJID should retain the services of Dellavalle consultants to provide monitoring services in keeping with the board’s goal of using best management practices for water applications.

Kamper has already contacted several farmers who are willing to participate in the program.

The basic objective is to gather information from various locations throughout the district and to begin to collect data that can be a useful tool in determining the optimum amount of water that should be applied to certain crops. Irrigators who monitor soil moisture levels in the field greatly increase their ability to conserve water and energy, optimize crop yields, as well as avoid soil erosion and water pollution.

The consultant would utilize specialized monitoring tools and methods at each site. They will provide information on a regular basis for an irrigation plan to determine when and how much water needs to be applied to a certain crop.

The determination of a suitable location for the monitoring may also depend on the ability of the district to provide water on a schedule that works into the program. The district’s current rotation schedule does not always offer that type of flexibility.

It will cost $700 to set up and monitor each site. In order to get a good mix of soil and crop types, it is being suggested that the firm monitor six to eight sites.

It is also being recommended that to insure effectiveness that farmers should pay a portion of the costs.

The board is being asked to approve up to $6,000 for the program.