When the South San Joaquin Irrigation District’s 2013 season ends on Oct. 16 they will have something leftover that many other agencies won’t — a secured supply of water for the next irrigation season.
The final irrigation run starts Oct.6 based on Tuesday’s SSJID board decision.
Woodward Reservoir will be topped off at 210 feet by midnight on Sept. 30 leaving the 36,000-acre lake at full capacity. That means the district will have e water to meet the municipal water needs of Manteca, Tracy, and Lathrop plus enough of a cushion if a rare early run is needed again in January or early February id the drought continues for a third year.
SSJID along with Oakdale Irrigation District split the first 600,000 acre feet of run-off on the Stanislaus River watershed before the Bureau of Reclamation can use water for their customers.
That’s due to SSJID’s pre-1914 adjusted water rights. That, when coupled with a well thought out in-district storage system that includes Woodward Reservoir, makes SSJID’s water supplies arguably the most secure among irrigation districts in California.
Almonds are the biggest irrigated crop in the SSJID service territory with 33,000 acres followed by alfalfa at 6,000, grapes at 6,000, pastureland at 5,200, walnuts at 2,400 and peaches at 1,800. The rest is split between a diversity of crops ranging from corn to melons.