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SSJID has ample water if late irrigation needed
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Hot weather this fall as the almond season gets into full swing won’t be a problem this year for farmers who rely on South San Joaquin Irrigation District for water.

Under the SSJID board’s direction, the district has well-managed its water resources despite being in a third year of a drought.

“We have more than ample water if the board decided to extend the irrigation season later,” said SSJID General Manager Jeff Shields. “It will probably all depend upon the weather.”

The SSJID board meets Tuesday at 9 a.m. at the district orifice, 1101 E. Highway 120. The board will discuss the end of the irrigation season at that time.

The earliest possible date for the final irrigation run is expected to be somewhere between Oct. 15 and Oct. 25.

Shields noted, though, that the district will be able to fill Woodward Reservoir to 35,000 acre feet - its maximum capacity - by Sept. 30 when water diversions stop from the Stanislaus River.

That means if the board needed to extend the irrigation season to keep crops hydrated in the event of another heat spell they could do so without imperiling domestic water supplies for this winter and early spring for the cities of Manteca, Lathrop, and Tracy.

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, pasture 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.