A revised draft of terms for a one-time option of annexation to the Oakdale Irrigation District for select groups of “fringe” parcels was set by the OID board in a unanimous action at the Feb. 7 regular meeting.
Fringe parcels in groups 2, 3, and 5 and a portion of group 4A will be provided the option of annexation to OID, which must be exercised by Oct. 1, 2012. The fringe parcels that choose not to move forward with the option of annexation or are not provided the option at all will be provided the volume of water each irrigation season that is determined reasonable for their specific crop. Once the crop allocation is reached, the turnout will be locked and an out-of-district service agreement will have to be reached before more water deliveries are made.
Among the terms for applicants are a charge of $5,000 or 20 percent of the per acre annexation fee to be made as a non-refundable deposit, not to exceed $25,000; a $2,600 per acre fee to be paid to OID; providing all surveyed right-of-ways for all OID conveyance channels; payment of all fees and costs for soils reports, surveys, etc. as necessary; proof of membership in the appropriate Water Quality Coalition; and more.
In discussion items, OID General Manager Steve Knell said that the district will probably have an early irrigation season start, possibly in early March.
“We need to start budgeting (water),” Knell said.
He added that the OID staff will have a recommendation to the board at the Feb. 21 meeting.
Knell noted that OID and its sister district South San Joaquin Irrigation District are awaiting an accounting of “conservation water” in New Melones from the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR). He said that the BOR is trying to figure out how much is there and they are reviewing the contract language. He said that OID’s lawyer will be telling BOR that OID will sue them if they don’t have a number soon because the district has to plan for the irrigation season.
Director Al Bairos expressed indignation when he stated that OID should have that number now and the BOR should know that number on any given day.
“They’re using bureaucracy logic, whatever helps them,” said director Jack Alpers.
“That’s an oxymoron – bureaucracy logic,” responded director Herman Doornenbal.
Knell went on to discuss the snowpack and said that there are 4.8 inches of water content in the snow in the Sierras. The February forecast is for continued dry weather.
“If it’s a low water year, we’re not going to have any 10-day rotations,” Knell said.
He added that there also may be time deficits in the rotations, so constituents may get the water for a shorter period of time to do their irrigating on any given rotation.
According to the agenda, current inflow to New Melones is 200,000 acre feet, which is still 86 percent of the 115-year average. Daily inflow to New Melones has dropped to about 1,000 acre feet per day. Using some math calculations and assuming that the acre feet per day inflow continues to drop uniformly to zero by May 1, the accumulated inflow for that period would be 60,000 acre feet. Then, applying that number to the 1988 stipulation agreement formula, the districts’ water allocation for the year would equal 373,300 acre feet – to be shared between OID and SSJID, which would be about 186,600 acre feet. Normally, each district is allocated 300,000 acre feet each. OID believes that the “conservation water” account should bring in around an additional 25,000 acre feet to the district, bringing the OID total to 211,600. With longer rotations, cancellation of out-of-district contracts, and a strict minimal tailwater program, OID may be able to preserve another 40,000 acre feet, getting the number closer to 250,000 acre feet. However, this number is tied to a lot of “ifs.”
Knell also said that OID will be running the pumps and will fill Van Lier Reservoir at the end of February. He noted that it will likely be a rough water season.