Fresno irrigation water deliveries begin as skies open up

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Monday's late-season storm is bringing smiles to farmers in the Fresno Irrigation District (FID). The storms over the last few weeks have allowed water deliveries to flow a few weeks earlier than expected.

On Monday canals in the District started moving water to Valley farms from Easton to Sanger to Kerman.

Even though water deliveries are underway, any more rain from the cloudy skies is welcome by farmers like raisin grower Jerald Rebensdorf.

"I'm layer scraping. Luckily the rain's coming down to kind of wet down the grounds."

The rain didn't keep Rebensdorf from preparing this field for planting and his grapes are starting to form on the vine.

FID farmers are expected to receive their water deliveries through the end of July but Rebensdorf hopes a few more storms head our way.

"Maybe we can get more or at least save some for next year."

We also asked Rebensdorf how helpful it is to not have to pump as much groundwater, "Oh, it's the best thing that could happen, because a lot of wells went dry out here."

FID Runs water through 700 miles of canals and pipes to its users.

Bill Stretch, the District's Assistant General Manager, says March storms made a big difference in this year's water outlook.

"6-7 weeks ago we were tracking the driest year on record."

Now the District is moving closer to an average year when it comes to irrigation.

Farmers say they'll be able to save both water and money now that deliveries have started.

"With FID bringing in the surface water they'll be able to keep their groundwater wells turned off and be able to utilize the surface water," said Stretch.
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