The Kern Water Bank Authority held its Monday, November 12, 2018 board meeting at its semi-plush Bakersfield headquarters. At 3:00 pm promptly, Chairman Bill Phillimore dropped the hammer and we got it in gear. Quick as I can type Dave Beard, Kern County Water Agency moved to approve the minutes and there wasn’t as much as sigh of dissension as the minutes were approved by the entire board unanimously. The excitement had yet to crest. KWB controller Danelle Lopez presented the board with the treasurer’s report. Their jaws set in grime determination each board member reviewed the figures presented in a triumphant bid to protect their constituents’ assets. Without as much as a flinch, Beard boldly moved to accept the report and again, in complete solidarity, the board approved. General Manager Jon Parker looked knowingly at attorney Ernest Conant – the unspoken question – will Beard pull a hat trick and move to approve a third item before the end of the meeting?
Before that could happen; Parker showed the board a photo of bryozoan, a microscopic filter feeder deep in the shafts of the water bank’s wells. To me it looked indistinguishable from a skin cancer warning. Parker continued with his staff report. If I heard him correctly there is no recovery currently taking place. Director Kim Brown, Wonderful asked if the current water levels are reflecting pumping around the bank. Parker said yes, there is pumping going on around the area that could impact the bank’s water levels. Other things happening near the property is a round-about and a bicycle path.
Parker showed the board budget verses actual expenditures on seven capitalized maintenance projects totaling $1.6 million. The KWB had a large, metal building installed next to a pump site under repairs. The building has three, big rollup doors and unless someone backs up with a cutting torch it should protect from theft. Other work that can influence the KWB is the Cross Valley Canal/Pioneer Basin Nine has two proposed improvements. One would be a 600 cfs set of pipes and a 800 cfs pipe array at $771,800 and $897,200. If I understand correctly the City of Bakersfield is involved in this; which is causing some heartburn in certain quarters. The city has some say so in Kern River diversions and how a siphon or weir could be operated. In any event it’s a shared facility on city property. Phillimore broke the tension by assigning Beard to get the Pioneer Project, City of Bakersfield and of course the KWB together on this. The facility can share costs and minimum capacity. Beard will report back next month. Brown said she wants to see firm capacity figures.
Somewhere in Kern County there is a road named “Nord”. I don’t know if there is a large Norwegian expat community in the area but none the less there is this road. It needs a new siphon at the price of $500,000. Having a functional siphon under Nord Road will ease up some of the other conveyance and sounded like a win-win. Parker said engineering is already underway for new KWB basins and west to east flows on the KWB Canal. He pointed out it might be more cost efficient to purchase the needed pumps early in the process as once the water starts flowing the other construction could be limited but the pumps available right away. All in all Parker presented the board with almost $13 million in new construction projects. He said there is working capital now and Phillimore is working with the bankers to get financing. Bet you a dollar he does. Cal Trans came up with habitat credit offer for $2 million.
My favorite part; cattle grazing is close to 500 head of beefs. Committee reports were next and come to find out Kern County has been charging the Kern Groundwater Authority for use of the Supervisors’ chambers, so the meetings will move back upstairs to the smaller and less well appointed conference room on the third floor. Fine with me. Parker said KWB has a preliminary draft report for its GSP chapter. It’s not yet complete and there will be more review before it is even released to the board. Parker said what possible future projects involving the KWB property will be the reason for hosting a tour of the water bank for the engineers. Phillimore said he’d like to look to moving the board meetings to the first Mondays of the month in February. He asked them to please think about it. With that the meeting went into closed session.
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ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2018 by Don A. Wright
KERN WATER BANK AUTHORITY
1620 Mill Rock Way, Bakersfield, CA 93311 Office: 661/398-4900 www.kwb.org
Staff: Jon Parker-General Manager, Danelle Scott-Accountant, Ernest Conant-Attorney, Nick Torres-Superintendent
Board: William Phillimore-Chair Westside Mutual Water Company, William Taube-Vice Chair Wheeler Ridge Maricopa Water Storage District, Steve Jackson-Treasurer Dudley Ridge Water District, Dennis Atkinson Tejon Castac Water District, David Beard KCWA Improvement District 4, Wilmar Boschman Semitropic Water Storage District & Kim Brown Westside Mutual Water Company
Located on a large, undeveloped section of the Kern River’s sandy alluvial fan, the Kern Water Bank covers nearly 30 square miles over California’s southern San Joaquin Valley. Ideally situated, both for its unique geology and its proximity to water supply and delivery systems, the Kern Water Bank plays a dual role in California’s economically vital agricultural heartland.