Irrigation Water

MID provides irrigation water to approximately 2,300 agricultural customers who irrigate close to 60,000 acres of permanent and annual crops. Water is transported to area farms via MID’s 208 miles of canals and pipelines that operate on a gravity flow system. Surface water from the Tuolumne River flows downhill from the beginning of MID’s canal system at La Grange Diversion Dam to the end of MID’s canal system at several spill locations into the San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tuolumne rivers.

A Water History

The story of MID begins with water… or rather the lack of it. It was that one issue that led Modesto Assemblyman C.C. Wright to introduce a new law named the Wright Act of 1887 which allowed for the formation of irrigation districts and gave them the power to conduct elections, issue bonds and acquire property. MID is proud to have been the second irrigation district formed under the new law in 1887 and still in operation today.

MID’s canals were completed in 1903 and the first official irrigation season opened in 1904. The availability of such water changed the nature of farming in the area within a few years. Large tracts of wheat were replaced with orchards and vineyards. Today Stanislaus County ranks among the top 10 agricultural counties in the nation. Stanislaus County’s top 10 commodities are: milk, almonds, chickens, chicken eggs, turkeys, grapes, walnuts, cattle and calves, tomatoes, and peaches.

MID provides irrigation water to approximately 60,000 acres, typically between mid-March and mid-October each year.

The water story opened a new chapter in 1994 when MID began operating the Modesto Regional Water Treatment Plant. MID treats surface water and sells it to one customer – the City of Modesto.

Want to know more? Read “The Greening of Paradise Valley” for the complete history of the MID.

Additional MID Resources

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