Bill Stretch, General Manager
Office: (559) 233-7161
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 12, 2021
Delaying the start date decision will yield a more accurate runoff forecast
The on-going dry winter weather conditions and a much below-average Sierra Nevada snowpack led the Fresno Irrigation District to postpone the start of its 2021 water deliveries.
FID’s Board of Directors, after reviewing the latest runoff forecasts, decided to conserve the District’s available water supply by not offering any March or April agricultural deliveries and will not make an official decision on the start of this year’s water deliveries until early-April. The current hydrology suggests a June 1 water season start date with water deliveries lasting at least one month.
“We have had very little rain and snow in the mountains this winter, and the storm earlier this week added only minor precipitation to the Kings River watershed snowpack, which now stands at around 43% of the April 1 average,” said Bill Stretch, FID General Manager. “Unfortunately, there are no significant weather events in the immediate forecast to indicate a drastic change in water supply conditions.”
The dry outlook was reinforced by the California Department of Water Resources’ updated April through July runoff forecast. Assuming average amounts of precipitation fall during the remainder of the season, DWR predicts the Kings River’s runoff will be roughly 42 percent of normal. If late winter and spring conditions remain dry, Kings River runoff could approach critically-low runoff totals. FID’s Kings River entitlement depends upon each day’s natural river runoff. On February 23, the Bureau of Reclamation announced an initial Central Valley Project Friant Division water supply allocation of 20 percent for Class I and 0 percent for Class II contracts.
Since 1920, the Fresno Irrigation District has proudly delivered water to agricultural and urban communities within Fresno County. Today, the District encompasses over 250,000 acres of prime farmland and municipal areas, including the cities of Fresno and Clovis. As the premier irrigation district in the Central Valley, the District is extensively involved in a host of local, state and federal water issues.