The Rosedale Rio Bravo Water Storage District held its board of directors meeting on Monday, December 18, 2017 at its Bakersfield headquarters. I really stepped into a riveting session after not attending for many months. Chairman Roy Pierrucci called the meeting to order at 1:00 pm and the consent calendar items were approved. General Manager Eric Averett gave the financial reports and it was pretty extensive. There was a 10-year analysis of the revenue and expenditures – not adjusted for inflation. Assistant GM Dan Bartel explained the district’s cost recovery options schedule and the consideration of proposed reserve fund policy. Averett said his sources at Wells Fargo advised him to not go for the line of credit – that would cost them. However, without creating undue risk to the district it has the financial power to call on shorter term loans. Averett and his brain trust of – and excuse me if I leave anyone out – Bartel and legal eagle Dan Raytis walked through the various scenarios in detail – which thankfully they didn’t describe in detail. But the district’s reserves are at a save amount in consideration of an upcoming 218 Election if I understood correctly. I did understand about the Prop 218 Election. If I understood correctly the state supreme court has recently ruled pumping costs are not subject to a 218 election, but they could be included in a Prop 28 hearing.
Engineer Zach Smith reported all the 2017 water measurements are complete. He said the average levels have increased by two feet. There were some mitigating factors but Smith is preparing a better methodology. In fact it sounded to me like a good deal of the gains were in a deeper strata and there will be further increases in storage nearer the surface as time goes on. Smith reported the operations log is final up through September. He said by the end of November there should be more than 300,000 a/f brought back into the district. There is some Cross Valley Canal water from Lower Tule River ID waiting to be pumped at the Delta. The Exchange Contractors are looking to start banking with Rosedale. If there are some late storms by mid-January there could be more Friant deals afoot. Averett said the subsidence along the Friant Kern Canal has curbed a lot of banking opportunities. Smith continued with the maintenance report saying staff has been applying weed spray and cleaning up around the district; which the board acknowledged as a good job. Sounded like they have a new mower/tractor set up and it’s exceeding expectations. The next item was listed as the 2017 Water Supply Projection and Bartel predicted 2017 was a wet year. And he was right and that item was ignored.
Smith talked about in-lieu turnouts on canals and where this bumps up against Buena Vista WSD. Sometimes there is water RRB brings in BV can use. There have been occasions where a BV user has turned on the water when he or she shouldn’t have. Averett said the rules haven’t been upgraded since 1982. He said it clearly needs to be reviewed and updated. Bartel said there are seven BV landowners this could apply to. He said there are turnout agreements in writing.
Bartel said RRB puts together a task list of technical services for AECom every year. He said it has been the same every year at about $20,000 and staff recommended renewing the task order.
Averett said the State Water Project allocation is at 15 percent and he doesn’t expect it to go up. A best case is 45 percent. He said if he can move some Central Valley Project water to San Luis Reservoir the district may be able to forego any recovery from the banking. He added this is about where we were at this time last year. Next he spoke about the California Water Fix and said with the federal side pulling out only one tunnel will be dug for now. The costs will go up since there are fewer contractors but the supply goes up and that drives the cost down. If I understood correctly, this is actually a cheaper deal for the state contractors. Ironically there is some federal loans available for 49 percent of the project costs with very attractive interest rates. Also, you don’t have to pay interest until you use the money. How to fund the 51 percent is still a question. SWP contractors are looking to band together to finance the remaining portion. Politically Metropolitan WD has stepped back on its commitment to the Water Fix and that will give MWD a better chance to convince its members – but it also puts the other SWP contractors in an iffy position.
I don’t know what the public contract code22050(c)(1) is but the board voted unanimously for it on resolution #482.
Next Averett said he attended a meeting with Tulare ID and Madera ID. Those IDs have used a software tool for groundwater recharge assessment. He was impressed and there will be a $50,000 one time fee with a three year $10,000 per year maintenance fee. Sustainable Conservation is behind this. It’s a non-profit organization and will be presenting this to the Kern Groundwater interests. Both TID and MID have had good results. RRB will be able to customize the software. This program will run various scenarios including hydrology, that calculates the value and yields of various recharge plans. The board approved.
Due to capacity constraints, costs and competition on the CVC RRB left some SWP water on the table. Last week Averett spoke before the California Water Commission in support of Prop One money for the Kern Fan Banking Project. He said the presentation took a half hour and the question session also took a half hour. He cited a unique benefit to the Delta as well. This project would allow for a dedicated turnout on the Aqueduct. Lori Honea reported ACWA’s insurance pool will now be available for SGMA use. Hydro geologist Tom Harder is proposing a $34,000 or so groundwater model for RRB. It will give the district underground flow and water levels. Averett said to expect a lot of recovery this year so this data will prove very helpful. The board approved and agreed.
Bartel gave his project report and said there is a lot of construction taking place. The Onyx Ranch had sediment cleaned out of various ditches. He said the permits took a year and a half to get but the work was finished in less than one day. He said he and Smith went to a trap shooting contest and they both missed a bunch of shots so as to instill better public relations. Bartel said now the folks up in Onyx say those Rosedale boys not only lie but they can’t shoot either. Continuing; Bartel said the CVC is very cement conscious. Folks have lost their job over the wrong aggregate. He said the new requirements for the RRB turnout are enough to withstand a bunker buster bomb or 12.7 earthquake. The board went ahead paid. There is a pumping plant in need of decking alterations – or is it? Well, it’s not so bad and the trash rack was noticed as to pliable as it was being installed. That has to be beefed up. The board also agreed to pay for the deck and trash rack change order. The board also considered increasing the Stockdale East Recharge Pond conveyance. The costs depending on how many new pumps are used is about $2 million.
There were a few other things discussed and the meeting went into closed session.
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ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2017 by Don A. Wright No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of DAW.
Rosedale Rio Bravo Water Storage District was formed in 1959 by landowners for the purpose of construction and operation of a groundwater recharge project. Historically, surface water from the Kern River overflowed into the Goose Lake Slough channel, which traverses Rosedale, on average of once every three years. Rosedale encompasses approximately 44,000 acres of lands, of which approximately 27,500 are in irrigated agriculture, with an additional 7,500 acres developed in residential, commercial and industrial. Nearly all of Rosedale’s water supplies are recharged into the groundwater aquifer. RRBWSD participates in the State Water Project through the Kern County Water Agency for almost 35,000 a/f annually. However, due to environmental regulations the actual average amount is 60 percent deliveries.
Board: Division 1—Barry Watts, Division 2—Mitch Millwee, Treasurer Division 3—Gary Unruh, Secretary, Division 4—Jason Selvidge, Vice-President, Division 5—Roy Pierucci, President.
Staff: General Manager Eric Averett, Assistant Manager Dan Bartel, Engineer Zach Smith, Office Manager Lori Honea & Attorney Dan Raytis.