Tuolumne district delays vote on SSJID water offer

local@modbee.comFebruary 12, 2014 

The board of the Tuolumne Utilities District has postponed a vote on an emergency water transfer from the South San Joaquin Irrigation District.

The board discussed the matter Tuesday night but needs to see a contract before taking a vote, TUD spokeswoman Lisa Westbrook said. That could happen Feb. 25.

TUD, which serves about 44,000 people in Sonora and several other Tuolumne County communities, has been hit especially hard by the drought. Officials have warned that it could run out of water by May because of inadequate runoff into Pinecrest Lake and Lyons Reservoir.

Tuesday morning, the SSJID board agreed to sell 2,400 acre-feet, about 1 percent of its expected supply from the Stanislaus this year. TUD would pump it out of New Melones Reservoir.

The water would be bought for $200 per acre-foot by the Rancheria Band of the Me-Wuk tribe, which owns the Chicken Ranch Casino in Jamestown, and distributed by TUD.

The foothill district uses about 17,000 acre-feet in an average year but has asked customers to trim their use by 50 percent.

SSJID, meanwhile, is not expecting major cutbacks for its farmers around Ripon, Escalon and Manteca.

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