Turlock Irrigation District to fill canals next week

The Turlock Irrigation District plans to have its canals flowing a week from Thursday and to charge farmers the same water rates as last year.

The district board voted Tuesday to have the irrigation season run through Oct. 19, although that could change with the fall weather.

The basic charge of $26 per acre will buy four acre-feet of water. An acre-foot is enough to cover an acre a foot deep.

Farmers can get a fifth acre-foot for $15 and each acre-foot beyond that for $20.

The basic water allotment is relatively large, reflecting the improved supply resulting from two straight above-average winters in the district’s Tuolumne River watershed.

TID supplies about 5,800 farmers in an area stretching from the Tuolumne to the Merced River and from the Turlock Lake area to the San Joaquin River.

The neighboring Modesto Irrigation District, which also taps the Tuolumne, has not set a starting date for the season.

MID’s basic charge will remain at $27 per acre. The district board in January declined to launch a rate hike process that could have brought the charge to $29.50.