Stockton, CA (June 11, 2020) – In a historic vote, a consolidation of two of the oldest irrigation districts in the Tracy area was approved Thursday. The San Joaquin Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) voted unanimously in favor of consolidating the Byron-Bethany Irrigation District (BBID) and the West Side Irrigation District (WSID).
“By combining forces, we will improve water reliability for our customers, as well as greater financial stability and improved efficiency,” said BBID GM Rick Gilmore. “We thank LAFCO for its consideration throughout this process, culminating with today’s affirmative vote.”
Resolutions previously approved by BBID and WSID call for the 6,000-acre WSID service area west of Tracy to be incorporated into the existing 30,000-acre service area of BBID, establishing a single 36,000- acre district. The former boundaries of WSID will be known as the West Side Service Area.
The merger has been in the works since 2016, when both districts first voted to move forward. Leaders from BBID and WSID formed an ad-hoc committee, carefully studying financial data and touring facilities dating back decades. Both agencies began in the early 1900s serving agricultural customers. Ultimately, leaders decided a merger would bring substantial benefits in the form of stronger water resources and water rights. Landowners expressed their strong support at a public meeting held at the outset of the process.
Last June, LAFCO adopted a final Municipal Service Review (MSR) and Sphere of Influence (SOI) prepared by both districts, which includes an extensive review of financial information, infrastructure, and services provided.
Following Thursday’s vote, per LAFCO procedure, a protest hearing will be held in 45 days. Unless more than 50% of the registered voters living in the affected area provide a written protest, the merger will become official.
BBID previously merged with the Plain View Water District in 2004.