Wednesday, October 5, 2005
Last weekend's torrential rainfall was a farmer's best friend, as Sunnyside Valley Irrigation District (SVID) users learned they will have water through Oct. 20, as originally hoped.
The irrigation target date was noted during a meeting on Tuesday of the Board of Control for the Sunnyside Division of the Yakima Irrigation Project.
Don Schramm, SVID Assistant Manager of Operations, described concerns that the irrigation water supply might not have made it through last weekend.
But that all changed with the rains on Friday, Sept. 30, and Saturday, Oct. 1.
"At one point our rainfall for September was only 15 percent of the normal amount," Schramm noted. "But we ended the month at 85 percent of our normal rainfall - it all just happened to be in one day (Sept. 30)."
While the rains helped, irrigators will look to the mountains in the hopes of snow to replenish the water supply.
Water storage in the Yakima Basin is near 43 percent of average for this time of year. Mountain precipitation to date is 65 percent of average.
The October irrigation water shut-off will be gradual for SVID users. Granger and Zillah are scheduled to irrigate through Oct. 18; Snipes, Outlook and Prosser through Oct. 19 and lower areas of the district on Oct. 20.
The rainfall was too late, however, for Roza and many other junior water right holders who had to end their irrigation season last month.
The Sunnyside Division constitutes all the lands served by the Sunnyside Canal. There were originally 14 entities served, with SVID by far the largest with approximately 80 percent of the total acreage.
The 14 entities consisted of seven irrigation districts, two ditch companies and five cities and towns. Four of the irrigation districts have merged with SVID leaving three irrigation districts, as well as the ditch companies along with the cities and towns.
The Sunnyside Division Board of Control was created to oversee the operation and maintenance of the joint use facilities of the Sunnyside Division.