Fresno Irrigation District giving growers a few extra weeks of water

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Growers in the Fresno Irrigation District will be getting a few extra weeks of water deliveries this season.

Growers in the Fresno Irrigation District will get a few extra weeks of water deliveries this season.

The Fresno Irrigation District credits a better than expected snowpack runoff and late storms. The extra deliveries meant farmers would not have to pump as much groundwater to water crops.

Harvest was underway for many valley crops, but farmers in the Fresno Irrigation District will enjoy extended water deliveries into September.

They benefited from summer storms which did not bring rain to the Central Valley but did bring snow to the Sierra.

Asst. General Manager Bill Stretch explained, "With the recent storms that we've received in the higher elevations in the mountains both in July and August we are able to extend our water season."

Stretch will become the district's general manager when Gary Serrato retires in January after serving FID for 33 years.

Irrigation is part of the agency's name, but Serrato said 30% of the water goes for city use in Fresno and Clovis. "We've been able to keep up with managing our supplies to our growers but at the same time being able to provide for and deliver water to our communities as well. The City of Fresno now has surface water treatment plants."

As the Valley grew over the past three decades, Serrato oversaw new groundwater banking facilities and a fishery management program on the Kings River. He said, "There are always issues with water supply, water quality, water development, storage."

But he's quick to credit FID staff and board members.

Serrato said, "I've always managed this district by hiring folks that were smarter than I was in their field."
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