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Water outlook looking poorly for upcoming irrigation season
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Two years of drought and less than average precipitation have combined to paint a bleak picture for local growers going into the 2009 irrigation season.

As a result, local growers will be able to get 36 inches of irrigation water for their crop, the TID board decided yesterday.

A board resolution authorized the Water Distribution Department Manager to begin setting and filling the canal system for water deliveries on Friday.

While the snow and rain accumulation numbers to date remain promising, the past two years of drought mitigate the benefits of an average or close to average winter season. With Don Pedro Reservoir's level lower than last year a decrease in the irrigation water cap appears inevitable.

"Expected watershed yield coming after two record dry years isn't good," said Todd Troglin, TID Water Distribution Department manager. "Rainfall and snowfall would have to be quite a bit above average to make a difference."

Currently, water storage in Don Pedro is 170,00 acre feet fewer than at this same time last year. The upper watershed precipitation to date is 93 percent of average, however, the expected watershed yield is only 75 percent of average.

With precipitation numbers not even coming close to what would be needed for an ideal growing season, TID implemented a 36 inch cap - six inches fewer than last year's 42 inch cap - in irrigation water allotments for the 2009 season. The final allotment will likely be established April 14, once the April 1 snow surveys are complete and the final watershed conditions can be evaluated.