The Kaweah Delta Water Conservation District held its Tuesday, April 2, 2019 meeting at its Farmersville headquarters. Chairman Don Mills called things to order at 9:00am. KDWCD General Manager Mark Larsen announced the upcoming Friant Water Authority annual dinner on April 10th at the Crystal Palace in Bakersfield. That’s one we all want to get to. A selection of good speakers, a chance to fellowship with other water folk and some good food, sounds good. Arvin Edison Water Storage District is offering tours earlier that same day. I don’t know why I have hear this from other sources. Director Brian Watte said Friant bringing in Johnny Amaral was a very smart move. He spoke well of Amaral’s intelligence and experience. I would add the addition of Austin Ewell was also a good move on Friant’s part.
Water Master Vick Hernandez said 15,000 a/f of Central Valley Project water was brought in to the area during March. The NASA Airborne Snow Observatory is flying and it was said the Kaweah watershed up in the Sierra Nevada is steep. The mountains are steeper there than the other watersheds in the area. So there’s a learning curve in the interpretations. Larsen said he, Hernandez and Mills met with the local water managers to see how by working in cooperation in managing runoff can benefit everyone in light of SGMA. Engineer Dennis Keller said there is more a sense of working together and Tulare Irrigation District GM Aaron Fukuda agreed. No one wants to push Friant into prorating flood deliveries or at least a prorate fight. Forgive me if I state this incorrectly but as I understand it the districts that take Kaweah River water take that bucket of water first, before any CVP supplies. There is an unlimited offer of 215 water through the CVP so the districts have some juggling to do. There is also the option to trade, transfer and exchange water. Kaweah Delta has a deal with Arvin Edison wherein it took some of Arvin’s Class II water and will have to pay it back.
Larsen reported on Friant matters. He said Amaral is now Chief of External Affairs. He’ll be helping put and keep the FWA’s Valley Blue Print in play. Mills said there’s a benefit to Amaral’s work with Westlands WD. Larsen said Director Chris Tantau is in Washington DC with Friant and has been proactive in working with non FWA Friant contractors. He’s been attending South Valley Water Association meetings and providing places at the table for those directors. Larsen said the Friant Kern Canal will not be dewatered until fall of 2020 due to the very good water year. It just doesn’t make sense to shut the canal down with all this water. Two other canal related items are FWA taking title to the FKC and the repair of the subsidence impacted area. A few months ago Keller wrote FWA an opinion on taking title and to be careful of what you wish for. Larsen said FWA was able to incorporate Keller’s concerns and produce a better plan.
Keller spoke about the Temperance Flat Dam situation. He said the subscription of storage space isn’t great. The benefit to the westside isn’t perceived to be all that good either. Fukuda agreed. However, Keller said the US Bureau of Reclamation’s view of Temp Flat is much better. It has changed from a part of the San Joaquin River restoration to more of a CVP centered asset. Keller said the MOU is getting to the point of either slowing down or making a call for funds. There is a committee working on the eastside/westside situation. Fukuda said Stantec Engineering hasn’t been delivering final drafts so the representatives haven’t been able to give the home boards solid reports. He also said the Bureau wants to review the district’s water rights in light of Temp Flat and Fukuda and everyone else in the room, and I suspect every other board room in Friant said no way. That will not be on the table.
Larsen said Stantec presented FWA with five options to fix the FKC. He said option one and five are the best looking choices at this time. Larsen said there has been a lot of upstream finger pointing about any willingness to help pay for the canal fix. Keller said it isn’t a just a board choice as a 218 Election will be needed. It’s going to be an expensive, maybe even prohibitively expensive in some eyes without grants or other types of funding.
KDWCD Engineer Larry Dotson reported Lakeside Water ID is interested developing groundwater recharge in Basin #10. Dotson said there will need to be more excavation and Tulare County weighing in with an exemption and he sees no CEQA needed. The board approved.
Larsen said all the available basins in KDWCD are being pressed into use. One of the basins was discovered to be under utilized and more water has been routed there. Somehow Mill Creek is involved and should there be stormwater floods from the City of Visalia that would of course take precedent. There’s also a waste water component somehow tied in. Larsen said the City of Visalia has lost so many technical staff there isn’t anyone to talk with at this time.
Under legislation SB 559 (our area code) will send some grant money through the Department of Water Resources to Friant to help fix the and SB 487 will dedicate some money to the NASA ASO program. Larsen asked the board to send letters of support. That was an easy sell.
Greater Kaweah GSA General Manager Eric Osterling gave the board an update on SGMA matters. Osterling said he, Bryce McAtter GM of the Eastern Tule GSA and some Friant folk went up to Sacramento to meeting with DWR head Karla Nemeth and California Secretary of Agriculture Bill Lyons. They were both very interested in what’s happening with the white areas. He said the heaviest lift so farhas been the Basin Setting and underground flows. The consultant thinks it’s finished and Osterling said it will never be finished. He has plans to conduct more public outreach later this month.
The meeting went into closed session.
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ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2019 by Don A. Wright
Kaweah Delta Water Conservation District
2975 N. Farmersville Blvd.
Farmersville, California 93223
Board of Directors
Don Mills – President, Chris Tantau – Vice-President, Ron Clark, Stan Gomes, Jeff Ritchie, Mike Shannon & Brian Watte
Office and Field Staff
Chemical Applicator/Equipment Operator – Jim Mudford
Equipment Operators – Jesus Sandoval, Chris Bell & Tommy Crosswy
Equipment Operator/Mechanic – Ryon Van Essen
Hydrographer/River Operator – Jose Rivas & Rick Avila
Water Master – Victor Hernandez
Senior Equipment Operator – Tom Dilbeck & Doyle Pettyjohn
Accountant – Shelly Heier
Administrative Assistant – Kim Hollis
Board Coordinator – Anita Wilson
Office Assistant – Kathleen Halvorsen
Engineering Technician – Matthew Jacobus
Bruce George – Special Projects Consultant
Dennis Keller – Civil Engineer (Keller/Wegley Consulting Engineers)
Aubrey Mauritson – Attorney (Ruddell, Cochran, Stanton, Smith & Bixler, LLP)
Richard “Dick” Moss – Civil Engineer (Provost & Pritchard Consulting Group)
Shelley Orth – Editor/Wordsmith
From the Kaweah Delta website:
The Kaweah Delta Water Conservation District (KDWCD) was formed in 1927, under the provisions of California state law known as the Water Conservation Act of 1927, for the purpose of conserving and storing waters of the Kaweah River and for conserving and protecting the underground waters of the Kaweah Delta. Later the Water Conservation Act, as well as the purpose of the District, was expanded to include power generation and distribution.
The District is located in the south-central portion of the San Joaquin Valley and lies in portions of both Tulare and Kings Counties. The total area of the District is about 340,000 acres with approximately 255,000 acres located in the western portion of Tulare County and the balance, or 85,000 acres, in the northeastern portion of the Kings County.
The Districts lands are primarily agricultural in nature, although the cities of Visalia and Tulare constitute significant areas of urbanization. Farmersville is the other incorporated area. The population of the District is currently estimated to be in excess of 175,000 people with the principle crops being cotton, misc. field crops, deciduous fruit and nut trees as well as alfalfa.
Numerous public and private entities within the District’s boundaries divert water from the Kaweah River and its distributaries. Nearly all of the lands served with Kaweah River water also are served irrigation water from groundwater, primarily due to the erratic and relatively undependable nature of flow on the Kaweah River. All municipal and industrial water uses within the District are supplied from groundwater.
KDWCD and Tulare Irrigation District (TID), which lies entirely within the boundaries of the Kaweah Delta Water Conservation District, has a long-term contract with the federal Central Valley Project (CVP) for water from the Friant Division of the CVP. TID has historically received substantial quantities of CVP water surplus to the demands of the District which augment the Kaweah River supply.
The District and the Kaweah River groundwater basin have experienced long-term groundwater overdraft estimated in 2007 to be as much as 40,000 acre-feet per year. The District has performed multiple studies of groundwater data to determine the extent and volume of groundwater overdraft within its boundaries. There are currently over 40 recharge basins within the District covering approximately 5,000 acres. While KDWCD owns and operates many of these groundwater recharge basins, it does not provide water banking services for others.