Thursday August 10, 2023

The Modesto Bee

The Modesto Irrigation District has approved a plan to sell excess Tuolumne River water to farmers just outside its boundaries who rely on wells.

The board voted 5-0 on Tuesday to charge $200 per acre-foot for this water, more than double an earlier proposal.

The supply will allow these farmers to reduce groundwater pumping as part of a state mandate for sustainable aquifers. It is expected to be available in seven out of the 20 years in the contracts.

MID has been selling excess water via board votes based on a single year’s conditions. It happened this year as well as in 2019 and 2017.

Tuesday’s vote allows farmers to make long-term investments in pipes and other devices for tapping MID canals. “Groundwater is one of our treasures in this community,” Director Robert Frobose said, “and we need to protect it for our next generations.”

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