Print version of chapter
With completion of the original Don Pedro Dam
and Reservoir, the Modesto Irrigation District
came of age. Maturity did not mean retirement,
The half century which followed the 1923 dedication
of what then was the world?s largest concrete
gravity dam was to be filled with new challenges,
in many ways as great as those which had plagued
Throughout the nation and the world there was
the great boom and bust cycle. The heyday of the
1920s was ended abruptly by the 1929 crash on
Wall Street and the Great Depression that followed.
Agriculture always is the first to feel the effects
of an economic crisis and the depression of the
1930s struck when farmers in the Modesto Irrigation
District had little more than 20 years of experience
in the techniques of intensive farming by irrigation.
Not only did the district have a substantial debt,
but farmers also went heavily into debt in an
effort to survive.
That decade was followed by World War II and
its demand shortages of manpower, materials and
equipment, however, further burdened production
on the farm. Following the war, the period of
booming growth soon pitched agriculture into a
head-on clash with urban sprawl.
The one thing that the district did not have
to face, though, was new beginnings.
The MID ?s infancy was well behind it in 1921
when California Governor William D. Stephens launched
a statewide water and power development campaign
with the slogan, "Water for every acre and power
for every use." With a general awakening throughout
the state of irrigation?s importance, the 1920s
were marked with the formation or expansion of
irrigation districts all around Modesto and Turlock
as other areas followed in the footsteps of the
The establishment of some new irrigation districts
resulted in major conflicts, as on the west side
of the San Joaquin Valley where advocates of a
Wright Act-type district battled with the still-powerful
Miller & Lux Company, which in turn was fighting
the Madera Irrigation District over San Joaquin
River water rights.
The creation of the Merced Irrigation District
was less of a struggle but still not an easy task
because of opposition from major corporations
and landholders. Miller & Lux, with its own
irrigation system, and Southern Pacific, with
its railroad rights-of-way, contended their property
could not benefit from irrigation by the proposed
district. The courts rejected their pleas. In
San Joaquin County, especially in the Tracy area,
several districts were being formed with little
It was in this atmosphere that the Modesto board
approached the task of providing stability to
Modesto?s irrigation-dependent agricultural economy
while meeting the growing needs for improved productivity.
If faced two basic challenges during the period:
- Protect its independence from intrusion
by state and federal governments.
- Expand and modernize to meet the needs
of rapid growth.
In response to "the threat of encroachment from
the state and federal agencies," the Modesto Irrigation
District with its partner, Turlock, took the second-most
important step in the MID ?s history.
The most important move, of course, was its decision
to retail Don Pedro-generated electrical energy.
Now came the decision to ally with its long-time
adversary, San Francisco, in the cooperative development
of the Tuolumne River watershed.
This would utilize the river?s full potential
and prevent the intrusion of any other party.
On February 29, 1940, the two Valley irrigation
districts and San Francisco agreed that any further
development would be undertaken only with the
consent of the other partners. Although it was
only a simple agreement to cooperate, it laid
the groundwork for the multi-million dollar development
of the Tuolumne for the benefit of all three parties.
As early as the 1930s, the need for additional
storage on the Tuolumne watershed was recognized.
Thus, it was hardly a decade after the completion
of Don Pedro Reservoir that the board was forced
to begin thinking about future water needs.
This need was uppermost in the minds of MID directors
when state and federal agencies began to covet
Tuolumne water. In December 1943 the irrigation
districts and San Francisco outlined a $150 million
development program which would increase water
and power resources in the watershed by 150 percent.
The first step in this program was to be the
construction of the Cherry Valley Dam and Reservoir
by San Francisco, primarily to meet its Raker
Act water-delivery commitments to the irrigation
districts. The Corps of Engineers won congressional
authorization to contribute $5 million to the
anticipated $9 million project cost in lieu of
building more expensive, separate flood control
storage facilities on the river at Jacksonville.
The presence of the Army Engineers on the watershed
was accepted by the districts and the city because
the corps? sole interest was flood-control and
it posed no threat to water rights or the export
While the irrigation districts benefited directly
from the additional storage, it did not cost them
one cent. In a subsequent agreement reached in
June 1949, the Modesto and Turlock districts did
provide the federal agency 100,000 acre feet of
interim flood-control storage in Don Pedro Reservoir.
That latter agreement detailed the commitments
to finance the watershed?s ultimate developments
to meet all the needs of the irrigation districts
and the City of San Francisco. This would commit
to beneficial use all of the Tuolumne River?s
water resources. The plan also provided maximum
flood protection on the river.
The key to the entire program was construction
of the massive, 1.2 million acre-foot New Don
Pedro Reservoir which, according to the arrangement,
would be built by the City of San Francisco, with
the Corps of Engineers contributing an additional
$3 million for flood-control benefits.
Once completed, the project would be turned over
to the Modesto and Turlock Irrigation Districts
to own and operate. The only cost to the Valley
districts would be the acquisition of the land
When the long-range project was completed, San
Francisco would have 450,000 acre feet of water
available annually to meet its domestic needs.
The MID and TID would share 1,090,000 acre feet
of water a year to irrigate crops. Each would
have three major reservoirs ? Hetch Hetchy, Cherry
Valley and New Don Pedro ? at its disposal to
insure that through cooperative operation all
future anticipated requirements would be met.
The Corps of Engineers would have 340,000 acre
feet of flood-control storage, eventually concentrated
in New Don Pedro, at its command during high runoff
Except for a small minority contingent, the proposals
won strong support from the community, with Modesto
Bee managing editor Harry Conway editorializing
that the agreement "should insure continued prosperity
for this section of the Valley."
The 1949 agreement was consummated just three
months before President Harry S. Truman?s interior
secretary, Julius Krug, presented Congress a proposed
$2-billion Bureau of Reclamation water resource
development program which included federal construction
of New Don Pedro and the Upper and Lower Cooperstown
Reservoirs on tributaries to the Tuolumne, along
with projects on the Stanislaus River.
Once more the Modesto district and its partners
poised to preserve the Tuolumne?s water from the
clutches of the Bureau of Reclamation?s Central
MID Chief Engineer Clifford Plummer bitterly
protested that, before the district had entered
into the comprehensive agreement with San Francisco,
federal reclamation officials had promised him
that the CVP would not make demands on Tuolumne
In 1944 the U. S. Bureau of Reclamation had proposed
diverting Tuolumne and Stanislaus River water
to irrigate 500,000 acres southwest of Fresno.
Bureau Regional Engineer E. W. Creim, a former
MID engineer, in 1946 had assured some 250 irrigators
gathered from throughout the San Joaquin and Sacramento
Valleys that their water rights would be respected.
The forum was a Stanislaus County Pomona Grange-sponsored
conference opposing any interference by the CVP
with the vested rights of existing irrigation
When three years later Secretary Krug again tried
to move in on the Tuolumne River domain of the
Modesto and Turlock Districts, Plummer charged:
This plan would double the acreage these
rivers (Stanislaus and Tuolumne) would have
to irrigate when we often don?t have enough
water for our own land. The moment the Bureau
of Reclamation money is used to develop
these resources to the limit ? as we ourselves
now plan to do with the aid of Army flood-control
funds ? we will lose control of the river,
which we cannot afford to do.
Federal water also would cost 10 times what MID
farmer then were paying, Plummer warned local
In 1950 Regional Director Richard L. Boke wired
Congressman Cecil F. White that the U. S. Bureau
of Reclamation "has no plan to take over and operate
and integrate into the CVP the Turlock-Modesto
Irrigation Districts. Never had any such intention
and never considered the suggestion."
The battle against CVP encroachment was won again.
Victory was reaffirmed in December 1953 when
Undersecretary of Interior Ralph Tudor praised
the cooperative development of the Tuolumne as
"an example of the kind of local control the Eisenhower
administration desires to see throughout the nation.
Such local control means that the users decide
the fate of their own resources."
In 1956 the Modesto district again insisted upon
its independence when the California Water Resources
Board and its chief, Harvey Banks, were developing
still another statewide water program. The Modesto
board declared there was no surplus and any interference
by the State Water Plan would jeopardize the district?s
The Modesto Irrigation District directors declared
pointedly that the state might as well exclude
the Tuolumne River at the outset and avoid a battle.
This would "save time and money both for the State
of California and the people who have contributed
to providing for their own water needs," the directors
declared. They added:
Long years have been spent in working out
a plan to use the waters of the Tuolumne
River to the best of advantage of the people
and we do not feel that any group or agency
should upset this program for complete and
ultimate control and use of the Tuolumne
The California Water Plan was approved in 1959
without any involvement along the east side of
the San Joaquin Valley.
The cooperative spirit conveyed by the 1943 and
1949 agreements between San Francisco and the
irrigation districts first was expressed in concrete
terms even before the construction of Cherry Valley
Dam. In 1950 the San Francisco installed drum
gates at Hetch Hetchy?s O?Shaughnessy Dam to increase
by 20,000 acre feet the storage reserved strictly
for use by the irrigation districts.
Cherry Valley Dam, started in 1952, was completed
three years later. Its 274,000 acre feet of additional
storage provided better and longer irrigation
seasons, preventing strict rationing such as had
been required in 1947 when Modesto?s irrigation
season ended a month and a half earlier. The total
capacity of this one reservoir equaled 77 percent
of the Modesto district?s annual needs. Of course,
the water had to be shared with Turlock.
The modified earth-fill dam built by the Guy
F. Atkinson Company created a five-mile long lake
two miles wide. Subsequently, a 5,840-foot tunnel
was built to connect the new reservoir with the
41-year-old Lake Eleanor. This assured that the
runoff from the two primary tributaries in the
Tuolumne River?s upper reaches could be captured
and put to beneficial use in the fields of the
Modesto and Turlock Irrigation Districts.
Cherry Valley Dam, which ultimately cost $14
million, is 350 feet tall, shaped like a diamond
1,200 feet thick at the base and 2,600 feet across
at the top. Five-and-a-half million cubic yards
or rock and material were used. The core was of
impervious, decomposed granite and the filter
sheet of coarse-to-fine rock. The remainder of
the dam was granite fill. All material was found
locally. The 19-foot wide, 1,600-foot long diversion
tunnel later was lined with concrete, reducing
the diameter to 16 feet to serve as an outlet
The dam was dedicated on October 27, 1955, just
before the disastrous Christmas Eve floods in
the San Joaquin Valley. A review of flood flows
revealed that at the peak of the flood 100,000
second feet of water was pouring into Don Pedro
Reservoir. This was 750,000 gallons per second
? enough water flowing into the reservoir every
11 seconds to supply the City of Modesto for a
full day. With the help of Cherry Valley Dam,
Don Pedro was able to control the floodwaters
until the flow was down to 42,500 second feet.
The Army Engineers? investment in the new dam
paid for itself within a month after its completion.
With the Cherry Valley Reservoir operating, Modesto?s
irrigation situation was improved, but the final
solution, New Don Pedro, still was more than a
Meanwhile, there were other problems to face.
Irrigated acreage in the MID peaked at just under
71,000 acres, then started to decline in 1948.
The postwar housing boom, suburban shopping centers
and industry began a steady encroachment upon
irrigated lands. Asphalt, stores and houses replaced
orchards and vineyards. To achieve greater productivity
per acre, more water-intensive crops were introduced.
The raising of La Grange Dam 18 inches in 1923
had permitted a better flow in the MID canals,
but more efficiencies were required.
Possibly the most important long-range water
management program undertaken between the building
of the first and second Don Pedro Reservoirs was
the Modesto Irrigation District?s concerted effort
to line with concrete or divert into underground
pipelines all of its main canal, laterals and
When the canal system was constructed, all canals
were earthen channels, except in a few places
near the head of the main canal where it skirts
the bluff of the Tuolumne River. That sector was
cut through slate rock, which obviously would
not carry water without being sealed. It had to
be lined immediately.
For many years, it was felt that any great amount
of lining would not be feasible. Yet, open earthen
canals proved to be inefficient and wasteful.
Weeds and tules clogged them, reducing the flow
of water and requiring expensive cleaning each
year. Evaporation and seepage stole as much as
30 percent of the slow-moving water before flows
reached their destination. Seepage contributed
to the rising water-table problem.
The canal-improvement program was only spasmodic
in the early years. Engineer Percy Jones reported
in November 1921 the completion of more than a
mile of lining of the main canal and installation
of 24-inch concrete pipe in 400 feet of the Curtis
By 1933 less than 25 miles of canals had been
lined or piped, but considerable work was to be
done under the depression-fostered federal Public
Works Administration, although in many instances
the cost of paperwork and supervision ate up much
of the advantages of having federal financial
World War II material shortages slowed progress,
but each year a few more miles of canals were
lined with concrete. Most of this work was performed
primarily to repair bad spots and to eliminate
the danger of breaks at specific locations in
the earthen ditch banks.
After the war, however, the district launched
a 20-year program designed to line or pipe all
of its main canal and laterals. By 1955 MID Chief
Engineer Plummer announced 93.7 miles of the total
network had been piped or lined. This meant 58
percent of the goal had been achieved. In the
prosperous years that followed, work was speeded
so that 81 percent was finished by 1960. By lining
at least six or seven miles of canal each year,
the program was completed by the mid-1960s.
Today all 288 miles of the district?s main canal,
laterals and drains, as well as many of those
inherited in the 1977 merger with the Waterford
Irrigation District, are lined with concrete or
Earthen canals in which the flow could not be
carried in 42-inch concrete pipes were lined with
two to two-and-a-half inch-thick concrete bottoms
and sidewalls. Many of the larger canals had to
be rebuilt completely, using specially built backhoes,
because the bottoms had washed as much as six
feet below the original grades.
Non-reinforced monolithic concrete pipe up to
42 inches in diameter poured in place in the ground
is almost as high in quality as precast pipe sections
hauled to the site and can be installed at less
than half the cost.
A standard trench digger with a modified special
finishing bucket leaves a semicircular ditch with
a smooth, round bottom, which serves as the form
for the lower half of the pipeline. Concrete is
poured in the trench around a large float or "boat,"
which is rocked back and forth by a man standing
on it. In this manner, the lower half of the pipeline
is shaped. As soon as the concrete begins to set,
round steel forms are placed on it and the top
half is poured. On the following morning when
the concrete had hardened, the steel forms are
stripped out and reused. The pipeline then is
covered and the surface graded.
In this fashion, some operators have been able
to complete more than 600 lineal feet of 30-to-36-inch
pipe in an eight-hour day.
Piping of the smaller ditches not only improved
the efficiency of water delivery and permitted
farming in the rights-of-way, but it became a
virtual necessity with the disappearance of the
horse from the farms.
Charles Crawford, for many year Modesto?s irrigation
engineer, notes it is practically impossible to
maintain small ditches without horses. Although
weeds can be removed by spray or burning, ditches
which are not plowed become almost impossible
to maintain due to depredations by gophers. An
open ditch cannot be plowed effectively with a
Along with the TID, the MID was one of the first
irrigation districts to embark upon and complete
a program to eliminate inefficient earthen ditches.
The benefits have been many, including the unexpected
advantage of preventing bank damage by muskrats.
Not native to California, muskrats which were
introduced in the mid-19th Century
to establish a fur industry, have migrated throughout
the Valley, causing great damage to irrigation
Lined canals are more efficient, but also more
deadly for people who find them attractive for
swimming. The water flow is faster and stronger.
Steep, slippery concrete sides make escape more
difficult, impossible for some. People continued
to swim in the canals even though as early as
1950 Stanislaus County Health Officer Dr. George
O?Brien and Modesto City Health Officer Mark Landquist
launched a campaign declaring canals unsafe because
of pollution and other dangers.
"Several times each summer we find someone using
the canal for a septic tank," warned Dr. O?Brien.
As more canals were lined, pressure mounted to
put those running through residential areas under
The 1951 drowning of a 5-year-old Sonora girl
? the second canal drowning in 15 years ? caused
formation of a canal safety league to seek feasible
solutions to the danger. Discussed were rerouting,
covering or piping, fencing, patrolling, alarms,
screening, steps and handholds. Earlier on its
own initiative the district had explored replacing
open canals with underground pipes, but took no
action because the multi-million dollar cost was
beyond its means.
In 1954 the MID Board of Directors did offer
to match locally-raised funds for the underground
piping of any lateral 2 along Encina Avenue and
El Vista School in east Modesto.
Later the same year a Forward Modesto Committee
subsequently renewed the canal-safety appeal.
A 20-year canal piping program was recommended.
The district maintained, however, that this should
be done through local improvement districts. Directors
contended that to finance such a massive undertaking
with the district?s general funds would impose
an unfair financial burden on rural residents.
Although reports of the discussion did not indicate
the issue was mentioned, the canals were in place
first and residential areas were developed around
Early in 1964 a new study estimated the cost
of piping all canals in the residential areas
at $8 million, which the district felt was prohibitive
at that time. Investigations into fencing canals
revealed more hazards than protections. Fences
would be more of an obstacle for adult rescuers
than for nimble children.
Educational programs inspired by the Canal Safety
League and Forward Modesto Committee since have
become a significant activity of the district,
For many years when canals were being filled
for the first time each spring, the district issued
warnings about their hazards. In 1964 the first
water-safety pamphlet was prepared, urging safety
in all waters, including swimming pools, rivers
and lakes as well as canals. These were sent out
with monthly statements to MID electrical customers
and distributed through the schools.
Designed around a symbolic frog named Splasher,
a formal safety program devised by MID Administrative
Assistant Paul Grenbeaux took form in 1970. Aimed
directly at the younger children, pre-school through
third grade, a booklet contains stories, songs
and coloring pages emphasizing water safety in
general, not just related to canals. Four versions
of the publication are rotated so youngsters see
a new booklet each year.
Today, 25,000 copies of the book are distributed
through pre-school and elementary school classes.
The book also is available without charge to the
general public. Since 1977 the MID has joined
The Modesto Bee in cosponsoring a special
YMCA Ester vacation program at which more than
500 non-swimmers from the age of 4 to 12 learn
to swim each year.
The irrigation district is responsible for the
development and maintenance of the main canal
and laterals. Distribution ditches feeding off
the laterals to serve individual farms are and
always have been the responsibility of the irrigators.
A court attempt to force the district to provide
ditches to serve every individual farm failed.
Irrigators immediately adjacent to laterals were
able to draw directly from them but those some
distance away had a problem. Once again, dirt
ditches proved inadequate. Cooperative efforts
were required to improve them.
At the request of the Modesto and Turlock Irrigation
Districts, Stanislaus County?s State Senator J.
C. Garrison, an east Empire area farmer and former
MID director, drafted and won passage of the 1927
California Irrigation Improvement Districts Act.
This allows a group of farmers to organize under
the umbrella of the parent irrigation district
to share the costs of building and improving the
Under the program as it functions in the Modesto
Irrigation District, the ditch system is surveyed
and engineered by the district?s irrigation staff.
The district does the contracting and provides
project inspection. Property owners are responsible
only for construction costs as the district absorbs
all other expenses. Repayment is over a 10-year
period at a reasonable interest rate, which in
1986 was 7 percent.
The MID is responsible for all maintenance during
the 10-year repayment period. Although the improvement
district agreement did not provide for it, the
district continued to perform all maintenance
work until 1986. At that time, the district began
to require maintenance expenses to be borne by
irrigators, as agreements had stated all along.
The policy change was based on the belief that
the former practice was unfair to those not in
improvement districts who had to maintain their
own ditches. The MID still performs without charge
the maintenance work required during the 10-year
pay-back period, however.
Not surprisingly, Senator Garrison and members
of his family and neighbors were the first to
petition for the creation of an improvement district.
Although the petition was filed September 4, 1928,
no improvement work was done until 1937.
It wasn?t until the Great Depression that the
program gained momentum. The first project completed
under the program was the Shepherd Improvement
District off Lateral 5 west of Modesto. The work
was done in 1931.
Crawford, who as chief irrigation engineer for
the district supervised the development and operation
of many of the successful improvement districts,
feels the system was especially valuable in replacing
old dirt ditches. He notes that the program "provided
a practical, efficient way in which people could
get together to save water, insure more efficient
delivery and reduce maintenance costs substantially."
Today 240 active improvement districts serve
about 50 percent of the total MID irrigated acreage.
One hundred sixty-six miles of distribution ditches
have been put underground in pipelines through
the improvement district program.
The growth of the Modesto district is reflected
in its annual gross revenues, which totaled about
$250,000 in 1920, swelled to nearly $1 million
a decade later and currently exceed $70 million.
Growth meant more people, more responsibilities,
more new and sophisticated equipment.
Since 1912 the district offices had been located
in the 800 block of 11th Street. By
mid-century the building was hopelessly overcrowded.
In August 1956 the MID moved into a new $827,000
headquarters building designed specifically to
meet these rapidly expanding requirements. Located
at 11th and M Streets, the new building
emphasized customer service and convenience, simplicity,
appropriateness, flexibility, and service to the
public. Directors made the building?s auditorium
available to community organizations for public
These qualities earned the MID headquarters the
Northern Calfornia American Institute of Architect?s
1957 award of merit for institutional architect?s
1957 award of merit for institutional buildings,
the best of 140 competitors.
When the current headquarters building was opened,
it was said to have been designed "for at least
a century of use," but with provisions to add
on to the south sometime "decades in the future."
Thirty years later the district had purchased
the balance of the block bounded by 10th,
L, 11th and M Streets and work to expand
it is under way in the MID ?s centennial year of
Much of the growth in district activities was
due, of course, to the rapid increase in the number
of power consumers and the dramatic increase in
the use of electricity generally.
While the board of directors remained grower
oriented, it found itself involved in new business,
industrial and administrative practices.
As the division boundaries changed to give Modesto?s
urban area its own director, business and professional
people appeared on the policy-making body. Employee
relations, payrolls and other management problems
became increasingly important. Engineering in
both water and electrical departments became more
complex. Technicians and professionals in specialized
fields were hired.
The days when a man could be repairing a ditch
bank one day and helping out with payrolls the
next were gone. The Modesto Irrigation District
truly had become big business. Administrative
and engineering functions of the district were
adjusted to meet these needs.
Through these years of transition, the MID Board
of Directors displayed the traditional day-to-day
conservatism of farmers, but showed themselves
to be as visionary as the original founders of
the Modesto Irrigation District. They quickly
learned to work with other local, state and federal
agencies while protecting the district from being
gobbled up by programs devised by these agencies.
Directors assumed leadership roles in statewide
organizations of irrigation districts. The Association
of California Water Agencies, formerly known as
the Irrigation Districts Association, was organized
in 1910 at a Modesto City Hall meeting of representatives
of the Modesto, Turlock, Oakdale, South San Joaquin
and Alta (Fresno County) Irrigation Districts.
Today the ACWA has more than 300 members representing
virtually all California irrigated lands.
Modesto dairyman and Division 5 Director Milton
L. Kidd was president of the association from
1943 to 1948 during those critical years of debate
over the Central Valleys Project and formation
of Governor Earl Warren?s State Water Plan. In
his capacity as IDA president, Kidd played a major
role in the battle to protect the interests of
local districts, becoming adept at hurling verbal
brickbats at the U. S. Bureau of Reclamation.
MID Directors Matt Fiscalini and John Kidd, a
nephew of Milton Kidd, also served as ACWA presidents,
Fiscalini in 1965-1966 and the younger Kidd in
Not all the problems MID directors faced in mid-20th
Century were major but many proved troublesome.
Storm drainage, for instance, became an issue
between the MID and the City of Modesto. For years,
the canal system was not suitable as a permanent
solution for handling the city?s runoff of storm
"Storm drainage of urban areas must handle the
runoff occurring from a storm in a short period
of time," explained Chief Engineer Plummer. "Since
many of our intense storms occur after canals
are filled with irrigation water, much damage
would occur while waiting for the canals to be
controlled to the point where the water could
be discharged. This would result in the flooding
of bottomlands, damaging of crops, require new
rights-of-way, and complicate regular winter maintenance
A couple of limited uses were permitted initially:
One in Empire where the community put up funds
to build a spillway into the Tuolumne River and
the other on Tully Road north of Highway 99 to
solve a local drainage problem on an interim basis
until a permanent solution could be achieved by
Although the city has expanded its dry-well drainage
system, these cannot cope with the heavy run off
of an above-average storm. Several limited agreements
between the district and the city now allow the
pumping of excess standing water into nearby laterals.
Recreation also became a part of the district?s
concerns as Modesto Reservoir, previously known
as Dallas-Warner, developed into a major boating
and outdoor activity area. The land around the
reservoir had been leased to cattlemen for grazing,
but the district decided to forego that revenue
and turn over the land to Stanislaus County for
development of appropriate recreation facilities.
A 1958 survey found that most of those using
the reservoir were family groups. Power and sail
boating and water skiing were the leading activities,
with fishing close behind. Most families were
from San Joaquin County, with Alameda County visitors
second in volume of users. Less than 20 percent
of the users were from Stanislaus County. The
reservoir also drew heavily from the San Francisco
Bay and Peninsula areas.
History shows that the ?40s, ?50s and ?60s were
a critical period in the MID during which its
directors had to defend against outside raids
on the Tuolumne River and arrange with a former
water-rights adversary, the City and County of
San Francisco, to develop fully the river?s watershed,
thus providing for the district?s future needs.
The times and the pressures required courage
and durability of the district?s directors serving
the irrigators and electrical consumers whose
lives and fortunes had come to depend upon the
MID ?s successes in water and power resource management.
Had less visionary men made less demanding decisions
in those times, the MID would not have been able
to grow and meet challenging requirements placed
upon it, nor would the people and entities dependent
upon the Modesto Irrigation District have prospered
as they did.
Paradise Valley, indeed, did prosper in its transition
from a rural agricultural producing area into
one of the world?s largest food processing centers.
The achievements of these years were tremendous,
but they were to be followed by still another
spectacular accomplishment; construction of the
massive New Don Pedro Dam and Reservoir which
would insure that the MID ?s water requirements
would be met for all time.