The Oakdale Irrigation District board could vote today on a possible one-year water sale to San Francisco.
Under the tentative deal, the city would pay $112,000 for the option to buy up to 2,240 acre-feet, about 1 percent of the OID supply from the Stanislaus River. The price for the actual amount of water delivered has not been set.
The OID board discussed the sale last month and indicated that it would go through only if the districts farmers would not be left short of water.
Directors also have talked about possible deals that might emerge with agencies in the San Joaquin Valley, in case 2014 turns out to be a third-straight dry year.
OID has water to sell thanks to conservation projects and development of some of its acreage. Past sales have generated money for canal system upgrades and kept water rates low for district farmers.
San Francisco had sought to buy 2,240 acre-feet from the Modesto Irrigation District to augment its Tuolumne River supply in dry years. The MID board dropped the idea last year after protest from people concerned about the long contract term and possible effects on Modesto-area farmers and domestic users during drought.
The OID board today also will consider a pilot project aimed at conserving water and making it available for sale to other agencies.
The staff suggested asking a small number of farmers to forgo irrigation for a year. The water would be sold to other areas, and the income would pay for conservation efforts on the idled fields, which would reduce their consumption over the long term.
The project would involve pasture and annual field crops, rather than orchards or vineyards, which cannot go a year without irrigation. The conservation steps could include new pipelines that replace leaky lines or ditches and leveling the land to help the water spread efficiently, among other steps.
The board will meet at 9 a.m. today at the district office, 1205 E. F St., Oakdale
Bee staff writer John Holland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2385.