MODESTO — A recent focus on improving Modesto Irrigation District canal efficiency may be set aside today in a "Yeah, but " presentation highlighting some automation strides.
Before 2008, the MID manually controlled canal and reservoir flows in an antiquated and fairly wasteful operation. Spending millions on a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition project has made the system faster and more reliable, staff will say in today's MID board meeting.
However, some aspects have proved "challenging," a report says. The MID needs more staff expertise and has yet to finish upgrading six major canals and 19 "critical remote flow monitoring station" projects, the document says.
The presentation fulfills one of many recommendations by a volunteer advisory committee, whose members spent months studying the district and formulating ideas for canal improvements and how to pay for them.
The committee suggests steep rate hikes for irrigators, new reservoirs and selling conserved water to fund projects. The advisory panel estimates that despite some automation, further upgrades could save 36,370 acre-feet per year, or enough to cover more than 36 football fields in water 1 foot deep.
The panel was created in the wake of a huge dispute last year over the idea of selling water to San Francisco.
Also today, board members are scheduled to consider a half-
million-dollar contract with an engineering firm because hiring staff to do the work could cost the MID $600,000 per year, a report says.
Additionally, the board will review updates on MID energy projections, renewable energy sources, state emissions compliance, energy storage, energy efficiency and risk management to kick off the annual budget process.
The meeting starts at 9 a.m. at the district office, 1231 11th St., Modesto.
On the Net: http://bit.ly/19IS0Yj.
Bee staff writer Garth Stapley can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2390.