The Fresno Irrigation District (FID) Board of Directors made the decision at their regularly scheduled meeting on February 19 to begin water deliveries to agricultural customers on Friday, March 1. The District has already begun filling canals and basins with water in preparation for a successful delivery season. It is too early to tell how long the irrigation season will last; however, FID is hopeful to extend irrigation deliveries into the month of September. FID will have a better estimate on the length of the irrigation season by late spring and will provide updates to growers as soon as they are available.
On February 19, the snow water content in the Kings and San Joaquin River watersheds was 150 percent of average for that date, which corresponds to approximately 117 percent of the April 1st average. Additional snow surveys will be performed during the next two weeks and the water agencies will have a better handle on the projected water supplies.
Currently, the Kings River watershed is projected to have a snow melt runoff (April through July) that is approximately 135 percent of average. The Kings River Water Association (KRWA) is working with the 28-member units to schedule water deliveries.
Millerton Reservoir on the San Joaquin River is quickly filling and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) has encouraged water users to begin diverting larger volumes of water. While the USBR has not made an official allocation as of today, FID is anticipating allocations of 100 percent for Class I and 25 percent for Class II contracts. The City of Fresno has a Class I contract for 60,000 acre-feet that FID manages, and FID has a Class II contract of 75,000 acre-feet.
Besides agricultural deliveries, FID also provides water year around to their urban partners, the cities of Fresno and Clovis. These amounts are also determined by snow pack run-off. Deliveries are made to the cities’ surface water treatment plants as well as urban recharge basins such as Leaky Acres near the Fresno Yosemite International Airport. The cities and FID also work conjunctively with the Fresno Metropolitan Flood Control District (FMFCD) to recharge in urban storm basins when the precipitation season ends and they are no longer needed for flood control purposes.
Stretch sees these water conditions as a way to further the District’s commitment to sustainability and recharge efforts. “One of our priorities is to ensure we are prepared and successful in complying with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). The District is beginning to manage surface water supplies differently in preparation for this new Act, making efforts today to secure prosperous sustainability for the future.”
FID urges growers to work with their Water System Operators (WSO) for all scheduling questions and concerns. For information on the WSO that serves each area, visit the “Growers” page on our updated website at www.fresnoirrigation.com/growers. Questions may also be directed to the District office by phone at (559) 233-7161 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.