About the District
The Delano-Earlimart Irrigation District includes an historic service area of 56,500 acres situated in southern Tulare County and northern Kern County along the eastside of the San Joaquin Valley. The District serves over 450 landowners, with an average farm size of approximately 120 acres.
Over 90% of the District is planted to permanent crops, the most prevalent crop being grapes. Other permanent crops include pistachios, almonds, citrus, and various tree fruit. Approximately 20 different crops are grown by our farmers each year.
In 2016, a group of DEID landowners with land outside of the District asked to be annexed for help with complying with the requirements of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). This area, 7,554 acres in size and located west of the original DEID boundary, was added to the District through a formal LAFCO annexation process, bringing the total size of DEID to 64,898 acres. The annexed area remains dependent on groundwater and does not share in the surface or groundwater water supplies that the District has available to it.
Board of Directors
Division 1 – Director Kelley Hampton
Kelley was appointed to the Board in November of 2004. Kelley farms 160 acres of almonds, the same property that his father has farmed since 1955. He is the current president of the board of directors.
Division 2 – Director Nick Canata
Nick began serving on the Board in 1994. He grows table grapes on his farm east of Earlimart as well as consulting for a large agricultural operator with interests throughout the western states.
Division 3 – Director Harold Nelson
Harold joined the board of directors in January of 1990, succeeding his father as director for Division 3. Until his recent retirement, Harold owned and farmed 340 acres of grapes and olives. Harold was also very active in a number of farmer cooperatives and agricultural and water entities.
Division 4 – Director Mark Kovacevich
Mark has served on the board of directors since May of 2013. Mark is part of a diversified family farming operation that began with his father in the early 1940s. Crops grown by the Kovacevich family include table grapes, almonds, and persimmons.
Division 5 – Director Peter Hronis
Peter is a third generation grower in DEID. Peter farms with his brother and their sons in Tulare and Kern counties. In addition to growing citrus, and multiple varieties of table grapes, Pete and his family are major packers and shippers of the Delano area produce. Pete serves as Vice President of the Board.
Eric R. Quinley is the General Manager of the Delano-Earlimart Irrigation District, appointed in 2016. Mr. Quinley holds a Bachelors degree from Fresno Pacific University. Mr. Quinley also currently serves in a number of water and energy-related organizations. Prior to joining the District, Mr. Quinley served in management positions with the Friant Water Authority including Interim General Manager and Director of Operations and Maintenance. Prior to joining the Friant Water Authority, Mr. Quinley worked in the commercial construction management industry focusing on large scale institutional, industrial, and food processing projects and served as a district staff member for a Member of Congress.
Irrigation in the Delano and Earlimart regions began in the late 1800’s with artesian wells, but by the 1930’s diminished groundwater supplies threatened the area’s continued economic viability. By 1947 the mean depth to groundwater was dangerously low. The Delano-Earlimart Irrigation District was formed in 1938, and signed its original water service contract for water delivery from the Friant Unit of the Central Valley Project with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in 1951, after the average depth of groundwater had fallen every year since 1905. Since it’s inception, the District has provided consistent and reliable surface water to its constituents.
The District provides irrigation water to over 450 landowners on 56,500 acres of land in southern Tulare and northern Kern counties. Water is distributed through a 172 miles of pressurized pipelines which provides an extremely efficient water delivery system that is the foundation for the District’s water conservation and management program. DEID growers also have adopted a number of on-farm conservation and irrigation efficiency practices including drip, micro and sprinkler irrigation systems.