The San Joaquin Valley Water Infrastructure Authority met on Friday, January 11, 2019 at Fresno Irrigation District headquarters in Fresno. Vice Chairman Buddy Mendes, Fresno County Supervisor called the meeting to order at 9:00 am. Secretary Randal J. McFarland called role and we all saluted the glorious flag of the United States of America. Not the united 49 and California – the United States of America. The minutes were approved and the financial report was given and approved. The SJVWIA is changing gears today. Former Chair Steve Worthley has retired from politics as the County of Tulare Supervisor and Kuyler Crocker will not represent this county. Same thing in Merced County, Jerry O’Banion was replaced by Lloyd Pareira. Worthley and O’Banion both received not another plaque but a memorial statue looking thingy, known as a crystal recognition award according to General Manager Mario Santoyo with writing on it and a gift certificate to Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. Robert Silva, Mayor of Mendota also retired. O’Banion wasn’t present but both Worthley and Silva expressed their pleasure to serve. In a move that surprised me if no one else but makes great sense Worthley will replace Silva as the public member.
Officers were elected and Mendes is now chair and Kings County Supervisor Doug Verboon was elected vice-chair. Orange Cove Mayor Victor Lopez was really quick to second the motions nominating Mendes and Verboon. I don’t know if he is naturally efficient or just grateful to not be nominated.
Next Santoyo told the board the current SJVWIA Joint Powers Authority has been very Temperance Flat centric. The reins are being handed off to a new Memorandum Of Understanding group taking over the Temp Flat efforts. That will necessitate a change in the JPA. Aaron Fukuda, GM of Tulare ID addressed the board representing the MOU efforts. Right now the MOU is comprised of Friant Water Authority, TID is a FWA member and the Exchange Contractors. The City of Fresno, San Luis Delta Mendota Water Authority and Westlands Water District are all considering signing the MOU. Verboon asked Fukuda if he sees much interest from the private sector. Fukuda said you have to be a government entity to own storage in Temp Flat but private entities could buy space but if I understood correctly it might be pretty expensive and it hasn’t been thought through. Jason Phillips, Executive Director FWA said one of the big questions to be answered will be how to buy in to Temp Flat. Mendes said there could be pools of investors subbing under FWA or Fresno ID or some such agreement. The economy of scale will most likely require big players moving big blocks of water even if they are representing many small investors. Dave Rogers, Madera County Supervisor said there is a need to get this worked out to keep support going. The meeting went into closed session. The agenda says this is in response to exposure to litigation but Mendes characterized it a little better; work out a deal, so we’ll see what is announced when open session reconvenes. That took about 45 minutes.
Mendes reported that everyone agreed and will take the deal back to their home board attorneys. In the mean time the JPA can work the MOU. I’m a bit confused as there is now a Temperance Flat Reservoir JPA. I don’t know if this is the new name of the MOU or not. I raised my hand to ask but the chair didn’t see me. Fukuda had to leave early and told me – yes the MOU is now the TRF.
Santoyo reported the Water Supply Investment Program (the California Water Commission’s term for Prop One funds) application has to be transferred to TFR. So to be clear the CWC’s WSIP has been transferred from the SJVWIAJPA to the TFRJPA now that the MOU has become the TFRJPA.
The SJVWIA is moving on from Temp Flat to a “New San Joaquin River Water Supplies with Alternative Forest Management Practices.” As I understand it UC Merced and the US Bureau of Reclamation will be brought into this effort. Much of the forest in the Sierra Nevada has become unhealthy and overgrown to the point water yield has been impacted negatively. Fresno’s Fox affiliate KMPH 26 is planning on a televised town hall presentation on SGMA. Santoyo will be a part of this and make an appearance at the World Ag Expo in Tulare as well.
Under directors reports Rogers said to get a list of GSA projects proposed to Santoyo. He cited the progress made at the Red Top area of Madera County in regards to subsidence. And that was that. The next meeting is scheduled for February 8th.
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ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2019 by Don A. Wright
SAN Joaquin Valley Water Infrastructure Authority was established to further the construction of Temperance Flat Dam. The board is: Chairman Buddy Mendes Fresno County, Vice Chair Doug Verboon Kings County, Dave Rogers Madera County, Kuyler Crocker Tulare County, Lloyd Pareira Merced County, Victor Lopez Orange Cove, Alvaro Preciado City of Avenal, Steve Chedester Exchange Contractors, Lee Brand City of Fresno, Cannon Michael San Luis Delta Mendota, Jason Phillips Friant Water Authority and Steve Worthley at large.qin