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SSJID Water Year Closes
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Members of the South San Joaquin Irrigation District met in special session Wednesday, Sept. 30 and set the date for closing the current water year. That date for final deliveries of water was set for Wednesday, Oct. 21 ... unless the area gets at least a half inch of rain before then.

And that, said SSJID General Manger Jeff Shields on Monday afternoon, was being anticipated with the weather system that was due to pass through the area Tuesday and into early Wednesday.

"What they said was they would close the water season on the 21st, unless we got at least a half-inch of rain," Shields explained. "If the weather people are right, we'll pretty much hit that so I told the guys today to assume we're going to cut the water off."

Once the formal water deliveries have ended for the water year, what remains will be draining of the system.

"We spill it into the San Joaquin (River)," Shields said, noting that spots in French Camp and Lathrop are utilized, while some water in the canals can also be diverted into the Stanislaus River near the McHenry Avenue bridge in Escalon, at the San Joaquin-Stanislaus County line.

"We have a spill just downstream from that," Shields said of the bridge.

No additional work is planned right now for the canals, though they will be checked and serviced later on following drainage of the bulk of water from the lines.

South San Joaquin Irrigation District had a good year, the general manager added.

"We did sell some water in August, September and October," he explained. "We sold about 25,000 acre feet to the San Luis Delta Mendota Water Agency and around 5,000 acre feet to the Stockton East Water District."

SSJID also has an annual sale contract with Stockton East but in addition was able to sell off some surplus water to that district as well.

Even after all parcels were serviced, deliveries made and the sales completed, Shields said the district has some water surplus remaining, but no decision had been made as to what to do with that.

"We had a very good year, compared to what we thought at the start, we did very well and it looks like, with this storm, we will have a good start on next year," Shields pointed out.

There are about 72,000 acres in the South San Joaquin Irrigation District and about 48,000 of those acres are irrigated utilizing the district's water deliveries. That covers about 4,000 customers throughout the county serviced by the district.

Shields recently returned from meetings with Representative Jerry McNerney of the 11th Congressional District, discussing water issues.

A normal or higher than normal rainfall year, he said, will help alleviate some drought concerns and could mean a better overall picture for the state in terms of water supply.

"The state certainly needs this," Shields said of the wet weather system.

Forecasters were calling for upwards of an inch of rain possible in the first storm of the season, with gusty winds and temperatures in the upper 60s and lower 70s. Rain was expected to linger with intermittent showers on Wednesday before a return to partly sunny conditions and highs in the 70s on Thursday.