Help for MID water plan on tap

06/23/2014 6:03 PM

06/23/2014 6:05 PM

Seven years ago, the Modesto Irrigation District began developing a Comprehensive Water Resources Management Plan. The idea was to nail down goals for updating aging canals and equipment, improving efficiency and adapting to changing technology.

Don’t bother looking for the document online or asking for a copy at the district office. It never was completed or approved by the MID board.

Now seriously challenged by drought, groundwater concerns and competition with fish, district officials figure it’s time to finish the job.

In a meeting Tuesday morning, board members will consider hiring familiar faces to help. The Irrigation Training and Research Center at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo several years ago studied MID’s needs and suggested $115 million in system upgrades in a document cited many times since, and it helped inform recommendations last year from a volunteer advisory committee.

If approved Tuesday, the nonprofit center would be paid about $50,000 to finish the water management plan by year’s end. An important component is looking into designs for new reservoirs that could significantly improve efficiency for delivering water to farmers.

Contract pay rates range from $57 per hour for an engineering technician to $210 per hour for the center’s chairman.

MID General Manager Roger VanHoy received an electrical engineering degree from the university, and former general manager Allen Short had worked in San Luis Obispo before coming to Modesto in 1990.

The board on Tuesday also will consider switching retirement consulting firms. Seeking “better risk-adjusted investment performance,” a retirement committee recommends hiring Prudential Trust Co.

Tuesday morning’s board meeting will begin at 9 in the district chamber at 1231 11th St., Modesto. For more information, visit

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