At the Board of Directors regular board meeting held on May 3rd, there was lengthy discussion on the water supply and potential start date for the irrigation season. The water supply is approximately 3,000-acre feet below where it was on this date last year. The total water supply is at 19,201-acre feet, or 17% of capacity. We currently have a little over 30 days of water in storage to deliver this summer.
The lower temperatures and wet weather patterns coming in to the valley have been very beneficial, and it sounds like they are going to continue for the near future. With that said, the Board decided not to set a start date for the season at this time. We will continue to monitor the precipitation, temperatures and soil moistures, and make a decision at a later date. Picking a start date is a very difficult decision because we have several different crops that need water at different times during the summer. For instance, the hay growers tend to need the water earlier in the season, while the orchards and vineyards need it later on. With the very limited water supply, most water users are just trying to help their crops survive without even thinking about being able to harvest a viable crop. We will continue to update the website every couple of weeks, or sooner as conditions change and decisions are made.
The Board did decide that once the irrigation season begins, we will run continually until the supply is exhausted. We will not be starting and stopping and starting like we did last year. We were trying to extend the season by doing this, but the weather turned extremely hot with multiple 100-degree days, and it just did not work out as anticipated.