Alta Irrigation District

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Examples of Maintenance Activity from 2018-20

2018 2019 AID Maintenance Activities Click the link below to see more maintenance activity

Examples of Maintenance Activity from 2018-20


System Reoperations During Wet Years Helped Alta Irrigation District Navigate Recent Dry Year

Dinuba, CA – Kings River runoff during the just-concluding water year may have been limited by deepening drought conditions to just over half of average but new operating procedures, implemented in 2017 allowed Alta Irrigation District to deliver more water when compared to operations during previous wet years, helped lessen impacts during this dry year.

Dinuba-based Alta, which serves eastern Fresno County, northern Tulare County (east and south of the Kings River) and a slice of western Kings County, was able to divert about 87,000 acre-feet of water during the summer season.

“Below average water years are not unique to the District and our history is pockmarked with single year and multi-year below average runoff events but this dry year demonstrates the importance of reoperations during wet years,” said the District’s General Manager, Chad Wegley.

The 2019-20 water year concluded September 30 and the Kings River’s full natural flow (as if there were no dams) is expected to be just 53% of average, according to the Kings River Water Association.

Looking back through the past decade’s many drought years, Wegley noted that the 2013-15 water years included the driest single- and three-year periods on record (see table below).

Summary of Water Run Operations During Driest Three-Year Period

Water Year

Volume Diverted from Kings River

Duration of Water Run


0 acre-feet

0 days


25,800 acre-feet

27 days


35,700 acre-feet

33 days

“That dry period is a stark reminder why improved operations implemented during wet years such as 2017 and 2019 were so important to water management in this area,” said Wegley.

In 2017, Alta set a record for its longest water run, 216 days, in half a century, for a total diversion of nearly 250,000 acre-feet. Not to be outdone, the District then diverted about 275,000 acre-feet in 2019 from the Kings River– fifth largest diversion since completion of Pine Flat Dam in 1954 and the second longest water run in half a century at 206 days. While Alta’s General Manager Chad Wegley only has four years at the helm, his vision brought record setting water runs and headgate diversions in half of those years.

“Collectively, reoperation of facilities has allowed the District to divert about an additional 100,000 acre-feet above previous operations for similar water years,” Wegley said. “That is equal to 10% of Pine Flat Reservoir’s capacity.”

Public Hearing

Alta Irrigation District will hold a Public Hearing on September 29, 2020, at 1:00 p.m. regarding the adoption of 2020 Water Charges and Assessments.   To participate in the Public Hearing call (559) 823-8500 at 1:00 p.m. on September 29, 2020.

Final Week of Water Run 2020

Dinuba, CA – Alta Irrigation District is experiencing unique challenges during this the final week of its 2020 water run that are impacting operations. As the District was reducing its Kings River diversions to coincide with a ramp down, water levels in some ditches dropped below normal seasonal levels or even dried up. To address these water level changes, the District increased its Kings River diversion this morning and started looking into potential causes thereof. Water level fluctuation may be attributed to one or more of following items: 1) leaky canal gates (Traver Canal headgate leakage is about 20% or more of the Kings River diversion rate), 2) water theft, 3) mismanaged water, 4) poor data, and 5) greater than anticipated canal seepage. In the meantime, District staff was out this morning working on the Traver Canal headgate and checking other headgates or turnouts for leaks.

Next Phase of Water Delivery Shutdowns for Water Run 2020

Dinuba, CA – On August 30th, Alta Irrigation District (District) will begin the second phase of water delivery shutdowns to the middle portion of the District. This shutdown impacts landowners receiving water from turnouts served by one or more of the following ditches with headgates on Alta Main/East Branch: A.W. Clark, California Vineyard, Smith Mountain, and any turnout diverting water directly from Alta Main/East Branch between Lincoln and Sumner Avenues. Water will continue flowing in Alta Main/East Branch to landowners downstream of Smith Mountain headgate – landowners are only allowed to divert water when on schedule. Any time a landowner diverts water when not on schedule you are stealing from a fellow farmer and violating District’s Rules and Regulations.

Ditches and/or turnouts from East Branch and downstream of Smith Mountain headgate (approximately Sumner Avenue) will remain online for the remainder of this water run, which is scheduled to end approximately September 10th. If a landowner diverts all available entitlement during the first three (3) days of this 20-day irrigation cycle, then that landowner’s irrigation season is over regardless of whether or not water is present in a ditch. If you have any questions about the status of a ditch serving your property, please contact your ditchtender. For additional information about this year’s water run, please visit the District website at or call the District office (559) 591-0800.