The Kern County Water Agency held a heck of meeting on Thursday, April 26, 2018 at its Bakersfield headquarters. I confess to arriving late. The Friant Water Authority meeting ran long and also fed everyone. So, it was sometime after 1:00 and before 1:20 pm when Chairman Ted Page called the meeting to order. When I walked end Director Gene Lundquist was wrapping up the first public portion of the meeting’s item – directors forum. Lundquist is on the excellent California Farm Water Coalition’s board. He was updating the KCWA about the progress CFWC is achieving in telling the greater urban portion of the state about agriculture’s vital role in the economy, ecology and culture of the California. The minutes were approved and member of the public, Mr. Dennis Fox spoke during public comment. Fox said nutria have been discovered in California and it isn’t a health food supplement available at Walmart. He said nutrias are large, South American aquatic rodents. Very prolific in the breeding department and they’ve moved into the Delta and some of the wildlife refuges. I added that some parts are edible. I’ve seen them on the menu in Louisiana. I’ve never tasted them. General Manager Curtis Creel gave his report and it was brief. I don’t know what he said. My apologies if he praised staff and I didn’t rely that news. The minutes were approved and the financial reports given and approved. Director Bruce Hafenfeld runs the administration committee and they had eight items that all passed. KCWA can now: sell surplus equipment, publish a notice of a public hearing on the 2018-19 budget, consider a 2018 investment policy and spend up to $1,700 on electrical testing. Maybe it was $17,000.
Under Director Martin Milobar the policy committee was next. Brent Walthall reported on the California Water Fix timeline. Not much new. Craig Wallace reported on the State & Federal Water Contractors Agency. He said San Luis Delta Mendota Water Authority has given notice to withdraw from SFWCA. Wallace said that took folks by surprise and reduced the income to the point SFWCA will disband. This also caused the science programs to be divided between the State Water Contractors and SLDMWA. SFWCA has so many permits for the ongoing science research. These permits are not easily transferable so SFWCA will remain as a shell entity to keep the permits going. Milobar asked why the federal side would pull out. He thought they weren’t thinking clearly. Neither Wallace or Walthall had been able to discern the reason for the split.
Walthall said there is a bill pending that would remove dam safety from DWR and remove the State Water Project from DWR and have it be administered by a nine-member board with eight members appointed by the governor. Walthall didn’t think that would get much traction without the governor’s administration buy-in.
Director Royce Fast chairs the water resources committee and Creel reported on the State Water Contractors. He said the SWC’s executive officer is very good at science. SWC is looking to hire a science specialist. He said SWC may have a higher level of interest in science than the Central Valley Contractors may wish to pursue. He reported subsidence in the Westlands Water District has impacted the Delta Mendota Canal and threatens the California Aqueduct. Wallace reported on Tuesday DWR upped the SWP allocation to 30 percent. He expects that to raise some more before it’s all over. He said the big runoff in the Northern Sierra has already occurred with remaining snow water content at 20 percent of average. San Luis Reservoir has about 1.8 million a/f in storage with state and fed amounts close to 50/50. The board asked Wallace how much more of an allocation could be expected. He hesitated but Page told him to say anything. Wallace responded depending on the Oroville Dam is operated there could be an increase to maybe 35 or 40 percent allocation.
Next staff gave information on California Aqueduct deliveries and transfers. Holly Melton spelled out the transfer details between KCWA members proposed. The board approved all transfers. I don’t recall the board ever not approving the transfers but these transfers seem to get more attention than a routine item. The board also authorized Creel to enter into a contract with the US Bureau of Reclamation to bring federal water into the area. Melton gave the Kern River report. There was a groundbreaking ceremony at Lake Isabella for the new work to be completed. Melton also reported on yesterday’s Kern Groundwater Authority GSA saying a boundary adjustment with Kern River GSA was approved. Fast added the GSP has to be wrapped up by June of 2019 to allow enough time to get all the approvals together for the deadline.
The water management committee is chaired by Director Phil Cerro. Staff reported on hydrographs. This presentation is getting better. Lundquist asked why the nested monitoring wells have not been used lately. Come to find out these wells have more problems than when you spread out the wells. Staff recommended a change order of $1,200 for Pioneer Project monitoring wells. This actually goes in KCWA’s favor. Dave Beard reported the Kern Water Bank meeting report was in the packet and there were no questions.
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ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2018 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.
Kern County Water Agency
The Kern County Water Agency is the State Water Contract administrators for districts within Kern County.
Board: Division 1 – Ted Page, President, Division 2 – Bruce Hafenfeld, Division 3 – Martin Milobar, Division 4 – Phillip Cerro, Division 5 – Bill Wulff, Division 6 – Royce Fast & Division 7 – Gene Lundquist.
Staff: General Manager is Curtis Creel and in-house counsel is Amelia Minaberrigaria.
3200 Rio Mirada Drive, Bakersfield, CA 93308 Office: 661/634-1400 www.kcwa.com
Board packets can be accessed on line at: www.kcwa.com/public username: publicuser password: kcwa1234
Wifi in the boardroom password: h2o!Guest Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.