By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
TID: Water outlook not looking good
Placeholder Image
The local water picture is not looking great.

Storms that blew into the Valley Jan. 21-26 helped - but not much.

As of Thursday, Don Pedro Reservoir was at 54 percent of capacity. An estimated 1,095,736 acre-feet of water was held in storage at the lake and its elevation was at 740.10 feet. The lake tops out at 830 feet.

Typically January and February are the wettest months but January was a huge disappointment to those watching water. Local growers were put on notice in December that a dry season means less water for crops.

"The 2009 water supply is uncertain," said Turlock Irrigation District public information officer Michelle Reimers. "Even with a wet winter, Don Pedro Reservoir will not fill and we may not be able to provide a full allotment to our growers."

TID records note that it's been drier than normal for the last three years. The dropping level of the lake is an indication that a drought may be on the way. Records show the lake was at 799.4 feet on Jan. 29, 2006, at 794.6 feet on Jan. 29, 2007, and at 762.3 feet on Jan. 29, 2008. As of Thursday the lake was 22 feet lower.

Droughts of six years are not uncommon in California. The most recent one ran from 1987 to 1992.

Modesto Irrigation District reported 4.75 inches of rainfall fell on the Valley floor thus far into the rainfall season as of Thursday. The season-to-date average is 6.58 inches. The last season-to-date for Jan. 29 was 9.21 inches.

"We started this water season well below what it was last year," said Reimers.