MID 2004 Annual Report and Consolidated Financial Statements

Stricter Standards In The Wind

Historically, runoff from irrigated farmland was exempt from certain federal water quality regulations. In 2003 a stricter pollution prevention regime went into effect.

Water Resource Issues

Photo of a clear glass of waterMID’s primary water source, the Tuolumne River, contains few natural impurities. This high quality water fills irrigation canals during the growing season, March through October. We have now begun sending water samples from irrigation canals to independent laboratories. The samples will be tested for substances entering our canals as runoff from agricultural lands, stormwater, and other sources.

MID has state approval through December 2005 to continue discharging water from our irrigation canals into the San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tuolumne rivers. What will happen after that date is uncertain.

Also to be determined is the best course of action if parties who discharge water into MID canals cannot meet the new water quality standards. During the winter months, the cities of Modesto and Riverbank discharge stormwater runoff into our canals. In some regions, studies have shown that urban runoff may contain substances ranging from used motor oil to industrial solvents to backyard weed killers.

Regional Water Planning Advances

Our local Groundwater Basin Association—members include the Modesto and Oakdale irrigation districts; the cities of Modesto, Oakdale, and Riverbank; and Stanislaus County—reached a milestone in 2004 by drafting a coordinated water management plan for northern Stanislaus County.

On a parallel front, the U.S. Geological Survey published an initial report of its ongoing study of area groundwater. The aim is to develop a predictive computer model to assist with water and land use decisions. For example, where should new water wells be drilled? What are the best locations for recharging groundwater? The model is expected to provide valuable guidance for local planners.

MID Ready To Quench Modesto’s Thirst

MID and the City of Modesto worked throughout 2004 on an agreement to double the capacity of the Modesto Regional Water Treatment Plant. For 10 years, MID has supplied half the City’s drinking water, 30 million gallons per day on average.

Even after expansion, the MID treatment plant will not supply all of Modesto’s water. It was never intended to. Rather, the objective is to use groundwater (from City wells) and MID surface water (from the Tuolumne River) in a coordinated fashion termed “conjunctive use.”

Conjunctive use enables water agencies to adjust groundwater/surface water proportions as needed during wet and dry conditions. It maximizes available resources and provides “drought insurance” for the community.

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Produced by the MID Public Affairs Department. To order a printed copy of the MID 2003 Annual Report, contact the MID Finance & General Services Division at (209) 526-7473.

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