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Water resources planning - are you ready?




Knell, Steve, author
U.S. Committee on Irrigation and Drainage, publisher

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Oakdale Irrigation District (OID) is a 72,345 acre irrigation district located in the northeast foothills and valley floor of the San Joaquin Valley of Central California. In late 2004 OID embarked on the development of a Water Resources Plan (WRP) with a subsequent adoption of the Plan in June 2007. The planning document and subsequent environmental review took nearly two and half years to complete. Oddly enough, the time spent developing the WRP was just about equal to time spent positioning OID to begin the planning process, hence the point of this paper. Water resource planning is not something one should embark upon lightly. It is an expensive process to do correctly; it is demanding in its time and energy commitment from the district; it is politically risky or at best politically challenging, depending on your local situation, if the groundwork is not laid properly. There are a number of elements a General Manager and/or an irrigation district Board of Directors should consider, or be aware of, prior to investing substantially in such a planning effort. Without a good understanding of the critical path elements to get to a successful implementation of the WRP a district could spend a sizable amount of money and staff time on a planning effort that ends up becoming largely un-implementable. This paper will discuss experiences learned at OID regarding its efforts in implementing a successful Water Resources Plan.


Presented at Irrigated agriculture responds to water use challenges - strategies for success: USCID water management conference held on April 3-6, 2012 in Austin, Texas.

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