Steve Haugen, watermaster on the Kings River, says the latest estimate of April-July runoff is now 180% of average - enough to fill Pine Flat Dam and provide for a full run of the Kings River as well as meet irrigation demand on the Valley floor.
”It looks like a very good water year“ — the first since 2019, the last wet year.
Last month Haugen estimated the Kings basin snowpack could generate 130%-140% of spring runoff, so snowpack continues to build.
As you can see when you look out your window this week, there is more precipitation where that came from, with Haugen saying the upper Kings watershed over the next week should get 3 to 5 feet of new snow.
Already users downstream are putting Pine Flat releases to work with more coming out of the reservoir than is flowing in. Some growers are already pre-irrigating fields and others are using irrigation to protect trees and vines from the very cold temps out there.
As far as the Kings River is concerned, this summer will feature plenty of water for recreation during those 100-degree days. But remember, reminds Haugen, that that the famous river will be a chilly 50 degrees and care must be taken.
Kings County Water Commission will discuss disbanding
The Kings County Water Commission will discuss plans put forward by the Board of Supervisors to disband the advisory group in favor of a new water advisory group.
The idea was not popular among members of the commission, which will meet Feb. 27, says county planner Alex Hernandez.
The new entity proposed upon adoption by supervisors of the groundwater export ordinance would be the Water Resources Oversight Commission. The groundwater export ordinance was adopted despite comments received from a number of local water agencies who asked the Board to postpone the ordinance last year to allow some modifications to be put in place.
Supervisors put the new law on the books without modifications, however. Sources say now - after the fact as it were - some of those comments are being discussed and could still be inserted in an amended groundwater export ordinance. No word whether this new dialogue could also save the Water Commission.
JD Heiskell to build new Hanford grain silo
Tulare-based JD Heiskell will expand their Kansas Avenue granary, adding a new silo and underground tunnel to connect to their Hanford feed mill. The proposed grain silo will be 105 feet in diameter and have a volume of 840,000 cubic feet. The existing truck route will be extended around the proposed grain silo.
USDA predicts lower price for cotton and milk
The latest USDA “long term” crop projection says two of Kings County's most famous crops could be staring at lower prices in the next few years.
The report says “after reaching a record of $0.914 per pound for cotton in 2021-22, the price is expected to fall to $0.80 per pound in 2023-24. Cotton prices are projected to continue to decline through 2025-26 to $0.75 per pound.”
As for our top crop - the “all-milk price" is projected to decrease from its high level in 2022, falling through 2025; it then rises from 2028 through 2032. Adjusted for inflation, the all-milk price decreases throughout the projection period.”
The USDA says the all-milk price for 2021 was $18.53, rising to $25.60 in 2022 but retreating to $22.90 in 2023, $21.90 in 2024 and staying at that level for several years.
Kingsburg rezone approved
The Tulare County Board of Supervisors approved a rezone of 15.71 acres on the border with the city of Kingsburg last month. The Reed Rezone Kingsburg Project will designate the entire property along Highway 99 to Commercial (C-2) and Light Industrial (M-1), for the future development of a 195,000 square foot industrial park, with various size parcels to accommodate commercial and industrial uses.
Pacific Coast Calf Ranch to expand
Pacific Coast Calf Ranch wants to expand their existing 55-acre facility in both herd size and facility improvements. The proposed project would include an approximate 208- by 430-foot area of open lot corrals as well as two new 430- by 25-foot shade structures. The project will be located at 18644 16th Ave., Stratford. Herd expansion would go from 9,500 head of cattle to 13,500.