The Don Pedro Project has provided water, power, flood control and recreational opportunities for more than half a century. Water supplied by the Project forms the backbone of the $4 billion agricultural industry in Stanislaus and Merced counties, which employs 18,000 people. The project also provides clean hydroelectric power to nearly 575,000 people. The Turlock Irrigation District (TID) and Modesto Irrigation District (MID) are now working to relicense the project and continue these vital services to the community.
A Plan for the Future
The Don Pedro Project was completed in 1971 and since that time, it has provided a reliable source of water and hydroelectric power to more than half a million people. Now that the original license has expired, the Turlock and Modesto Irrigation Districts are working with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, to obtain a new license for the Don Pedro Project. This involves a lengthy and detailed process as the public, state and federal agencies, and other interests offer their input.
This process began in 2011, five years before the license was set to expire. The Districts then spent the next couple of years conducting scientific studies about the effects of the project on everything from fisheries and non-native predators to water flow, temperature and overall water quality.
Once these were completed, the Districts took all the facts gathered and created a holistic plan – The Tuolumne River Management Plan – that achieves the co-equal goals of protecting and improving the natural resources of the lower Tuolumne River and protecting and sustaining the water supplies to our communities.
While the Don Pedro Project is locally funded, the federal government regulates hydroelectric projects on all navigable rivers through the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
The project was originally licensed for 50 years. That license expired in 2016 and has been renewed on a year-to-year basis since then. The Turlock and Modesto Irrigation Districts are requesting a new 50-year license.
The Tuolumne River Management Plan was formulated using the best available science and input from the communities it serves, as well as numerous state and federal agencies.
Public comment periods throughout the process ensured that all concerns were addressed in the most comprehensive, beneficial, and balanced way possible.