The Kern Water Bank Authority held its Monday, January 14, 2019 board of directors meeting at its opulent Bakersfield headquarters. At precisely 3:00pm Chairman Bill Phillimore called the meeting to order. I received an invitation to Mr. Phillimore’s retirement party tomorrow. I’m filled with mixed emotion. I’ve been attending KWB meetings since they met at 7:00am in attorney Ernest Conant’s offices. What can I say about a man who can get a meeting wrapped up in less than a half hour? Yes I want Bill to be happy and enjoy his family during retirement – but what about me? What if the next chairman runs sloppy two-hour meetings? Plus he’s one of the few guys who regularly gets my jokes; something I’ve always considered a sign of intelligence.

Despite my fear and insecurities, the board approved the minutes and the treasurer’s report, authorized the payment of the bills and passed a resolution to change the board of directors meeting time to something else sometime in the future. I’ll provide more specifics on the new times sometime in the future.

   General Manager Jon Parker told the board the Project Recovery Operations Plan Amendment Number One between the Pioneer Project, Rosedale Rio Bravo Water Storage District and the KWB. This is a deal between the entities where they work out the amount of pumping that takes place where the three districts meet. No one agency can get too carried away or the water table drops too fast. The next item dealt with financing options and since that is still on going it was moved to closed session.

Parker reported more than an inch of rain has fallen on the banking area. In other reports a very rare raptor has been spotted on the bank, actually a bunch of them so the wildlife portion of the water bank is turning out well. Whether the NRDC would be happy about that or not remains to be seen. Aera Petroleum will be looking to expand some habitat ground near the water bank.

There was a minor amendment to the KWB’s habitat agreement. The feds approved last year and the state has given tacit approval for another 800 acres of recharge basins without impacting any of the upland game habitat. Parker was optimistic about matters. The long-suffering bike path hit another bump on its route to creation. It was going to follow an old road through the bank but that was already given to habitat easement. It will now hug up against Interstate Five’s south bound lanes.

I couldn’t be sure from the overhead but it looks like there are more than 500-head of cattle grazing on the bank. It helps control vegetation of course but that in turn helps with the habitat itself. Somehow in the midst of my playing mental cattle rancher things went backwards and I looked up to find account balances on the spreadsheets shifting around. But there are some keen minds in the room and no one seemed bothered.

The next Kern Groundwater Authority will be January 23rd. Where and when? I don’t know they used to meet at the Kern County Supervisors chambers or the third floor of the Administrative building. Kern County has dropped out of the SGMA game. It is mandated to care for the un-districted “white areas” without surface deliveries. The county has opted to shift that care to the Kern County Water Agency. So, who knows where the meeting will be this time.

Parker went over the capacity improvements and offsite maintenance. The KWB canal pump station will expand by 150 cfs for $2.3 million. Over all Parker is proposing almost $13 million spending on new projects.

The meeting then went into closed session.

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ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  Copyright 2019 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.