The Kern Water Bank Authority held its Monday, February 11, 2019 meeting at its Bakersfield headquarters. Chairman Bill Phillimore called the meeting a bit later as a couple of directors were late. I’m not telling who and it helped me because my computer loaded like a heard of turtles. Well, I was glad to see Phillimore was still here because of his meeting running skills. Not surprised Ernest Conant didn’t come down from his new position as Mid Pacific Regional Directors for the US Bureau of Reclamation. His slot is now being filled by attorney Steve Torigiani. I’ve been sitting next to him for some time now at the KWB meetings and I have complete confidence he knows what’s going on better than I do. For instance; right off the bat he asked the board to add two items that have popped up since the agenda was posted: Buena Vista Water Storage District is suing KWB and that will be covered in closed session with a likely action taking place. Second there were two gentlemen wearing suits without ties. Turned out they were the special kind of lawyers who specialize in bonding.
The approved the minutes, the treasurer’s report and approved paying the bills. The next item was Resolution 2019-02 which was passed without comment. I think it was an agreement to allow KWB to take federal 215 water. All very routine.
Now for the guys without ties; the next resolution was about new financing with Union Bank. Phillimore said these guys don’t want a lien on the property, so that’s good. He said the KWB has decent cash reserves and this will be a revolving account. He also said master bank Rob Yraceburu looked it over. Yraceburu (Y is silent) is the new President of Wonderful Orchards and a former bigwig with Wells Fargo. Both Phillimore and Yraceburu said it is the best offer and better than the current deal. David Beard of Kern County Water Agency’s Improvement District Four asked about the assessment ratios and that will be worked out in the covenants. This was adopted unanimously.
General Manager Jon Parker read off the recharge amounts of each districts. It amounted to more than 25,400 a/f and there was 19,000 a/f last month. He said it was just in time to use some new updates on the infrastructure they’ve been paying for. The amount of recharge could even be increased but so far there will be enough recharge by the end of the month to meet current demands. There has been more than two inches of rain on the bank and that’s a good number for this dessert area. He also reported Cal Trans wants to put two roundabouts on intersections on Enos Lane which runs through the bank. Along with Superintendent Nick Torres, Parker went over some of the costs and progress made on the remaining infrastructure updates.
KWB has been working to insert a minor amendment alter the habitat on the bank. KWB wants to increase the recharge basins by 1,025 acres. The number of cattle grazing is about the same as last month. They may have to be moved around if additional recharge areas are needed. Torres reported the detailed engineering on the KWB Canal will be finished this week and can go out to bid. This is the time of year for scheduling to have a window of time for construction. The Cross Valley Canal was also undergoing work. The proposed projects in the future will total $13 million if staff gets its way.
The Kern Groundwater Monitoring Committee is still searching for data and may consolidate reports. The next Kern Groundwater Authority GSA will be meeting this month. With Kern County dropping out of the SGMA duties there has been an effort to get the KCWA to take over the white areas. Word is such a move isn’t popular with the KCWA board. There may be a move to allow districts to cover white area. 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, Steve Torigiani-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.