San Joaquin County Agricultural Industry Has Avoided Worst of California’s Drought

San Joaquin County has avoided the worst impacts of the drought, which has cost California $1.7 billion and more than 14,000 jobs, a recent report found.

Surface water conditions in the San Joaquin Valley are less severe than during the 2012-16 drought, and are better in the north valley than in the south, the report by University of California researchers found.

SSJID Suing State After Sacramento Goes After Its Water

South San Joaquin Irrigation District is suing the state in a bid to avoid a curtailment order from creating severe water shortages in 2022 for 200,000 Manteca, Lathrop, and Tracy residents and growers farming nearly 55,000 acres

SSJID, along with Oakdale Irrigation District, over a century ago secured first-in-line rights under state law for the initial 600,000 acre feet of annual water runoff in the Stanislaus River Basin.

A curtailment order issued Aug. 20 by the State Water Resources Control Board is essentially seizing the water the SSJID and OID legally own and prevents the agencies from diverting and storing Stanislaus River runoff in Donnells, Beardsley, New Melones and Tulloch Reservoirs.

Stanislaus River Basin Suffering from Its 5th Driest Year Since 1901

On any given day a small group of farmers gather behind Jimmy’s One Stop on Airport Way, kick back in resin patio chairs and shoot the breeze under a canopy of ragged trees.

If they glance to the east they can see the future of Manteca — as well as farmers in the South San Joaquin and Oakdale irrigation districts plus struggling Chinook salmon in the Stanislaus — flow by in the San Joaquin River.

Manipulation of Rivers Jeopardizes Resilience of Native Chinook Salmon

The heavy management of river systems in California is causing a compression in the migration timing of Chinook salmon to the point that they crowd their habitats. As a result, they might miss the best window for entering the ocean to grow into adults. Currently, less than 3% of wetland habitat remains in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.