A proposed 10 percent rate increase for farm water will go before the board of the Modesto Irrigation District on Tuesday.
Under the proposal, a farmer would pay $23.50, up from $21.50, for the first 42 inches of water delivered to an acre during the 2008 irrigation season. Water above that base allotment would cost more per inch.
The increase would help the district meet the rising cost of operating the canals, along with other costs involved with the service, MID officials said.
The increase cannot be enacted if a majority of landowners in the district lodge written protests before or during Tuesday's public hearing.
They were notified by mail in January. As of Tuesday of this week, only 10 people had protested, according to a memo to the board.
The $23.50 fee is about twice what the district charged a decade ago, but officials said the MID remains one of the cheapest water sources in the state.
The proposed 42-inch base allocation reflects the relatively good water outlook this year, officials told growers at a meeting this week. The Tuolumne River watershed, which the MID taps, has much more snow than last year at this time.
The runoff will feed hydroelectric plants that provide some of the power the MID sells to urban and rural customers. That income has long helped keep irrigation rates down.
The board will meet at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the district office, 1231 11th St., Modesto.
IRRIGATION CHARGES IN THE REGION
Modesto Irrigation District: Proposed 10 percent increase to $23.50 per acre for base allocation of 42 inches of water; $11.75 per acre for each 12 inches after that, up to 72 total inches; $20 per 12 inches after 72.
Turlock Irrigation District: $20 per acre for base allocation, which has not been set for this year; $10 per acre for next 12 inches; $15 per acre after that.
Oakdale Irrigation District: $19.50 per acre for parcels larger than 10 acres; $22 to $30 per acre for smaller parcels; no limit on consumption.
South San Joaquin Irrigation District: $24 per acre for unlimited use, but waived this year because of income from power generation and outside sales of conserved water.