The Kern Water Bank Authority held its board of directors meeting on Tuesday, July 9, 2019 at its Bakersfield headquarters. It was one of those warm days in the Valley but not yet in the 100s. At the stroke of 3:00pm Chairman Bill Phillimore called the meeting to order. Phillimore is one of the two great men of starting meetings on time but today was easy because the clock on the wall in the board room appeared to be frozen at 3:00 because the second hand doesn’t move and the minute hand moves of course too slow to track. Under the circumstances I felt the June minutes were ironically approved.

Danelle Lopez gave the treasurer’s report. She’s had a good run with KWB and while General Manager Jon Parker is no slouch, Lopez has kept things going smoothly. Good for her. Director Kim Brown moved to approve the report and it passed without comment as did the accounts payable.

Staff reports were next and Parker said its been a good spring but the recharge is so on and off. He said every time they think they’re through recharging along comes another slug of water. The recent earthquake slung some water around but so far there doesn’t seem to be any damage to wells. I’d heard it did some damage to north bound 99 near Tulare. Sure enough hit a hump in the road I don’t remember and I drive 99 a lot. There were swerving tire tracks. Someone got taken by surprise. Recharge to the bank for June was estimated at 32,000 a/f. The groundwater levels are coming up and the bank has received a little more than five inches, about average. On the corner of Enos Lane and Taft Highway the powers that be are installing a roundabout. They had a four way stop but folks were getting killed. So they put in traffic lights and people were still getting killed. Now they’re trying a roundabout so folks can head on’s in two directions.

There is a seven member entity developing the James Groundwater Storage and Recovery Project phase I and that is moving along. I don’t know much about this facility. I believe it is to the north portion of the bank near Rosedale Rio Bravo’s ponds. Out of a $6.5 million budget for the Capital Maintenance there is still more than $300,000 left. That should come in handy. The bank needs to replace three wells at $750,000 each. Drilling rigs are available now. Phillimore said the bank usually overcharges and evens up the accounts at the end of the year. He said there is a better way and there will be a presentation next month on how.

Parker recently gave the chairman of the State Water Resources Control Board Joaquin Esquival a tour of the bank. He said the chair really likes the facility. Many folks when viewing the water bank get it way beyond what reading about it can do. There will be more tours like the one with more than 100 students.

Kern County has been trying to get a bike path extended from the Kern River to the Buena Vista recreation area. Part of this past is on KWB property. KWB had to prepare a draft minor amendment to the habitat agreements and an addendum to the Monterey Plus REIR to accommodate the construction. It was observed the roundabout will be part of the bike path.

The KWB has habitat conservation credits for sale, 94 of them worth $1.4 million. Caltrans bought them all and wants another 234 credits for giant k-rats. Parker said there are no giant k-rats. There are several hundred more credits available. A Buena Vista Lake shrew needs another .25 acres along the Kern River according to Caltrans. Phillimore said he thinks there was a court ruling that states the BV shrew isn’t a separate species. KWB is in a good place for endangered species. There is a big list of possible species that are not currently on the bank but could be.

Federal Fish & Wildlife signed off on a minor amendment allowing an increase of 1,025 acres of recharge basins to be built on the KWB. California Department of F&W sent back a comment almost identical to one submitted to them two or three years ago. Cattle grazing hasn’t changed from last month. Parker said the bank bought 25,000 mosquito fish for more than 55,000 fish eating mosquitos. You can get 20,000 of them for $900. Much cheaper than spraying and the fist are really getting the bug population down.

The next monitoring committee will be in August. The Kern Groundwater Authority meeting will be on July 24th if I understood correctly and I believe I did. Parker said safe yield under the KGA GSP has dropped to .15 a/f per acre if I understood correctly and I hope I didn’t. At this point in the meeting the clock took off and gained an hour in about 10-seconds. Just a distraction. There was no old or new business nor public comments. The meeting went into a 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.