This year’s drought, which forced the Kimball High baseball and softball teams off their parched fields for the 2014 spring sports season, could extend into 2015.
Kimball High softball coach Joe Hernandez confirmed Wednesday that the school principal, Cheryl Domenichelli, told coaches to consider using alternate fields again next year. Her announcement followed an email to the same effect from the Tracy Unified School District assistant superintendent for business, Casey Goodall.
Kimball already had to find new venues this year — the softball team played at Tracy Sports Complex and the baseball team played at West High — because lack of water made the fields at the school unplayable.
Hernandez said he expected a group of concerned parents to attend Tuesday’s TUSD Board of Education meeting to demand a solution, but the matter is not on the school board’s agenda for discussion or action.
TUSD contracts with West Side Irrigation District for water pumped out of Old River.
While West Side Irrigation District can usually pump water out of the river from April to November, this year the irrigation district faces unprecedented restrictions.
The California State Water Resources Control Board, at its May 20 meeting in Sacramento, declared that the state’s drought, now in its third year, would require all water agencies to restrict pumping by early June, except those who have permits dating back to before 1914.
West Side Irrigation District, formed in 1915, is one of the agencies affected by the resolution. Even those with pre-1914 water rights may have to stop pumping by mid-June.
The district’s general manager, Dave Kaiser, said this is the first time in nearly 100 years that the state has told West Side Irrigation District to stop drawing water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Kaiser said that the district delivered water to Kimball High just last week, but on Monday, the pumps will shut down for a week.
With the possibility looming that the shutdown will last longer than a week, Kaiser was scrambling to figure out how the district would spread out its limited supplies of water this summer to farmers and other customers.
“Kimball High will be put into consideration like everyone else who receives water from us,” Kaiser said. “We will treat them like equal members of the district and get water to them as we can.”
Tracy Unified spokesman Joel Danoy confirmed Wednesday that the TUSD business services department got a phone call this week from West Side Irrigation District, notifying the school district that the irrigation pumps from West Side Irrigation District to Kimball High would be shut off Monday.
“The school district has done everything they can to keep the fields green,” Danoy said. “It’s just out of our control at this point. It’s at the state level.
“Right now, we’re trying to find different options.”
Contact Bob Brownne at firstname.lastname@example.org or 830-4227.