WATER SUPPLY / START OF IRRIGATION SEASON (POSTED 4/14/2020)
Conditions remain abnormally dry for this time of year. The United States Drought Monitor released April 7th has Jackson County in a severe drought condition. The National Resources Conservation Service Water Supply Report shows precipitation and snow pack in several sites that the District’s water supply relies on being well below normal. With the snow pack being below normal, this means that the natural stream flows that the District typically relies on to start the season will be almost nonexistent. So, when the canals are started, we will be operating off of stored water from the start, which will be a contributing factor to the already shortened irrigation season.
TID reservoirs are running at roughly 55% of average for this time of year and 44% of full storage capacity, on the combined reservoir system which includes Emigrant, Hyatt and Howard Prairie. There is still a chance for a late/wetter spring that would help, but so far, any significant storms have missed us.
District staff will start water in the canals, around May 1st. There will be a time lag to bring the canals up slowly to operating levels and priming pressure lines. This priming process can take 7 to 10 days to accomplish, so please be patient. We will get water moving and available as quickly and efficiently as possible without causing any damage to the canal system.
Even with the delayed start-up being the first part of May, TID patrons should prepare for an early shut-off this year. When that could be remains to be seen, as it will depend on weather conditions, user demand, reservoir drawdown and District operations.
To help extend the season, TID ditch riders and field staff will be especially focused on water being wasted either by run-off, overwatering, lack of attention, or letting sprinkler lines stay immobile for extended periods of time. Ditch riders will be maintaining established irrigation rotations within allotment amounts, unless the Board authorizes more stringent requirements.
Operational spills will be reduced to near zero. (Operational spills are the minimum releases at the ends of all canals to help stabilize the tail end of the canals and help sustain a more constant water level for end users.)
The District Board will assess the water supply and demand status monthly to determine if more stringent standards are needed. Office staff will supply monthly updates on reservoir levels and water demands on the District website.
Water users should prepare their systems to be as efficient as possible. Keep head ditches clean and free of debris, make sure sprinkler nozzles are in good shape and replace worn or damaged nozzles before starting up.