Sam Bologna believes it is time for a Manteca city resident to serve on the South San Joaquin Irrigation District board.
The reasons are simple. He wants to raise the district’s profile among Manteca residents as the SSJID works to become the electrical retail provider as well as to build a greater understanding among city residents of the importance of agriculture.
“It’s important to educate people about SSJID,” Bologna said. “More than half of the water the city uses comes from SSJID’s water treatment plant . . . The district also helps the city remove storm water.”
Bologna is seeking election Nov. 3 to the Division 3 seat representing much of east and central Manteca. He is running against Dave Kamper who has served on the board since 1997.
Bologna said once SSJID starts providing retail power, its profile within the city will grow substantially. He’d like to work to build a bridge of sorts to help urban residents better understand the overall importance of SSJID to the region as well as the need to work in tandem with the agricultural community to make sure farmers and cities alike can prosper side by side for SSJID’s next 112 years as they have done for the past 112 years.
The founding of the SSJID in 1908 triggered a building boom in Manteca that was once just a wide spot where two roads crossed at what is today Yosemite Avenue and Main Street.
Today 90 percent of the people that reside in the 72,000-acre district that provides irrigation water to farms reside within the city limits of Manteca, Ripon and Escalon. Despite roughly 80 percent of the district’s population being within the Manteca city limits Bologna points out there are no city residents on the SSJID board even though all five divisions include chunks of the city.
Bologna believes it has been well over 40 years since a Manteca city resident sat on the SSJID board and that happened to be a farmer who resided within the city limits and tended his farm in the country.
Bologna noted he is the right person to help build stronger bonds between the agricultural users and city residents who not only rely on SSJID for drinking water and removing storm water run-off through the district’s partnership with the city but eventually could be replacing PG&E as their power providers.
“I built a strong working relationship with farmers,” Bologna said.
That is thanks to him spending 47 years working his way up through the ranks at the South San Joaquin Irrigation District to retire as engineering department manager.
Bologna built a reputation while with SSJID for looking for innovative and cost-effective engineering answers to help the district be an efficient deliverer of water.
Before retiring from the district Bologna played a major role in facilitating various improvements projects in Manteca including:
*Joint endeavors that have put in place storm waste projects inter-ties to SSJID canals to reduce flooding in the city.
*An instrumental support role in planning and constructing the water treatment plan that supplies Manteca, Lathrop, and Tracy with drinking water.
*Working with developers to find “out of the box solutions” to issues that eventually benefitted all parties involved including the city and the district.
Among district projects he played major roles in were:
*The lauded state-of-the-art Division 9 pressurized irrigation system south of Manteca and west of Ripon that reduced water use by making it possible to put water and fertilizer directly where it is needed while increasing crop yields and eliminating the need to pump groundwater.
*The conservation program that saved money for growers and conserved district water.
*The acceleration of pipeline replacement projects during the recession that saved the district millions and compacted roughly 8 to 10 years of capital improvement projects into three years to take advantage of favorable construction and material costs.
*Numerous improvements to Woodward Reservoir, the main canal, automation of the main distributary canal, and working on groundwater sustainability.
His goals, if elected, include:
“Working with city leaders to accomplish common objectives and give city residents more of a voice on the board.
*Working closely with non-profits in the community to find ways to benefit the community in a positive way.
*Working closely with growers to help find ways to make their farming practices more efficient including advocating the reinstatement of the conservation program that was halted.
*Working on expanding the success of the Division 9 pressurized water project by using it as a model for projects elsewhere in the district.
*Look for innovative ways to utilize water resources to benefit the community.
Division 3 encompasses a large chunk of Manteca roughly as far west as Locust Avenue and the Tidewater Bikeway bordered partially on the south by the 120 Bypass on the north by Louise Avenue to Main Street and then Northgate Avenue with the eastern boundary Highway 99 as far south as Yosemite. Avenue. It also includes the area bounded by Van Ryn Avenue, Woodward Avenue and Moffat Boulevard.
The rural component is bordered by East Highway 120 on the north, Murphy Road on the east, and Clinton South/Graves Road on the south.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email email@example.com