The Consolidated Irrigation District’s board of directors met at its Selma headquarters on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. Before the meeting attorney Doug Jensen shared a story about working as a flagger for a crop duster. He said the trick was getting the pilot straightened out and getting out of the way before the dust fell. The first part of the meeting is the Central Kings Groundwater Sustainability Agency.
Chairman Earl Hudson called the meeting at 1:00pm and the minutes were approved. General Manager Phil Desatoff gave the board an update on the Groundwater Sustainability Plan. He said the GSPs will soon be ready and the seven GSAs in the Kings River Sub Basin will review each others’ plans. He hopes to have the CKGSA’s GSP draft available for the May meetings. This was going to be ready in January but now everyone is shooting for a summer release. Once everyone gets a chance to review the GSP it will be submitted to the Department of Water Resources. He said the seven GSAs are working on their water budgets and measurable objectives. These all have to be coordinated with each other. Desatoff said you can’t have one GSA with sustainable water level much higher or lower than the neighbors or there never will be a sustainable balance. Desatoff said CKGSA is in a pretty good position and expects working with the areas not in such a good situation will become very common. CID and Fresno ID have some of the best surface water supplies in the sub basin. He said there is no subsidence in the area because of the sandy soils and lack of clay layers that can be impacted by the aquifer, or perhaps the clay layers impacting the aquifer.
Desatoff said the measurable objectives are getting some push back from the non-governmental organizations and disadvantaged communities. They want assurances the water table will never drop but that’s not what SGMA is about. It’s about not exceeding sustainable levels and sometimes it rains and sometimes it doesn’t. He gave a sneak peak of the CKGSA’s GSP is planning on an additional 2,000 acres of recharge basins. Someone asked about placing drains underground and conveying it elsewhere. Not exactly subterranean recharge as talked reported on at the recent Kern Water Bank meeting. This meeting adjourned and the CID meeting took up.
Hudson asked for public comment and I said something I’m not prepared to put in print. The minutes were approved and a special closed session item was added to the agenda as it came up to late to be included under the regular timeframe. There were no conflicts of interest and item 4b, approval of the, was pulled from the consent calendar by Director Tom Benzler. The rest of the calendar was approved. Benzler asked how long the Watermark consulting group will be on the payroll. The Watermark ladies were hired to help upgrade CID’s website, social media and run the recent 218 election. They knocked it out of the park. CID won the election and has one of the best websites of any district I’m aware of. Watermark is training CID staff to take over duties such as website administration and will only be on the dime for another month or less. Benzler had some other questions about fuel costs and why the engineering firm Provost & Pritchard was getting so much of the district’s lose change. Desatoff explained P&P is preparing the GSP and related coordination as well as helping write a grant for the district to put in some more infrastructure.
Desatoff updated the board on the situation at Pine Flat Dam and Lake. He said districts having gained 72 percent of their storage there has to be releases of anything above that. The Army Corps of Engineers determine that percentage based on snow pack and flood control concerns. So far CID has yet to reach that amount so it’s still gaining water in storage and has been able to take some of the water being released from other districts with more than 72 percent to use for recharge. I heard him said CID is taking 2,400 a/f per day to the recharge ponds. He expects to keep recharging until June. Ideally CID growers will take surface water and not pump. The downstream districts are the ones losing storage but they can’t take the flood flows at this time so that water goes up for grabs to other districts that has a place to put the water. CID is getting free water at this time. Desatoff said CID can drink out of the firehouse because of its sandy ground. He said there are other districts that would require four times as much land to handle the same amount of water. Superintendent Walt Frost said the well levels report will be ready by next month.
ParcelQuest is a company that helps entities record new parcels much faster than the county recorder. That helps the record keeping immensely. They can connect to the district’s GIS system. Last month a strapping young man from Water Find USA shared how helpful ParcelQuest has been to his company. I believe it was Mitch Partovi. The board approved spending $2,388 for a year’s worth. Secretary Gail Hoffman updated the board on the district’s website. She said by the end of the month staff will be able to run the website due to current training. Hoffman also reported CID has received five bids to upgrade the phone system. I heard amounts between $2,000 to $8,000 depending on how much new gear and whether or not it is a lease or buy deal. There is also a cloud/no cloud option. Right now CID is using Comcast and some calls are being dropped. Someone said they like it like that. They don’t like talking on the phone anyway. The board approved the manager and staff to use their discretion and choose what will best serve the district.
The next item was equipment sales. As a public agency CID can’t just buy and sell gear without the board OK’ing it. Frost said there was a Cat, a couple of almost dead pickups, an excavator and a Challenger wheel tractor. Hudson it has been a lemon from the git go. He said CID once loaned it to Fresno ID and they put it on a trailer and brought it right back. Quinn Caterpillar said it was out of warranty but it would be willing to trade it for a sheep’s foot. Good for them. Director Mitch Ritchie said to take this junk to Ritchie Brothers (no relation) Auction in Tipton. That sounded like a good idea to send the equipment to auction somewhere. The board approved letting Desatoff and Frost to use their judgement of where to go.
Lastly, now that the old stuff has been dealt with the board approved staff getting two new pickups. There is $52,000 in the budget for new trucks and Director Tony Lewis said he could buy three trucks for that amount. Everyone asked him where and he said at auction. Staff’s going with the two truck plan.
The meeting went into closed session and the next meeting will be April 10th.
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ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2019 by Don A. Wright
CONSOLIDATED IRRIGATION DISTRICT – 2255 Chandler St, Selma, CA 93662 Telephone; 559/896-1660
CID covers 145,000 acres mostly in South Central Fresno County. Surface water supplies: Kings River CID is its own GSA
General Manager – Phil Desatoff, Attorney – Doug Jensen, Water Master – Walt Frost, Controller – Gail Hoffman
Board of Directors – President Earl Hudson, Thomas Benzler, Tony Lewis, Ray Moles, Mitch Ritchie