The Kings River East Groundwater Sustainability Agency held its board meeting on Thursday, July 18, 2019 at the City of Dinuba council chambers. The chambers are air cooled like an old time movie theater so it was a good place to be. I had to drop my cat off at the pet groomers before the meeting and he’s outlived my three dogs and two other cats so he’s getting old and deserves to be treated now and then. As I was getting ready to leave the house and needed to change from work clothes to work clothes Oliver the cat grabbed at my shirt tail from his perch on the bed. He did it again as I once again walked by but this time he got me with a real Harvey Weinstein, just cupped my butt check and this time he extended the claws. I guess the moral of this story designed to fatten my introducing paragraph is don’t walk by the cat without your pants on.

Chairman Buddy Mendes called the meeting at 2pm and Director Mary Fast led us in the flag salute. The first thing we had to do according to attorney Doug Jensen was to add an item to the agenda approving the agenda. With that completed successfully KREGSA General Manager Chad Wegley told the board there wasn’t any communications to report. and the consent calendar was passed with both the minutes and accounts payable taken care of.

Controller Eric Limas gave the treasurer’s statement. Mendez asked if there is a late charge for GSA fees. The answer is yes and 85 percent of the fees have been paid. As was pointed out that is pretty dang good for an agency that didn’t exist a couple of years ago. Limas reported grant reimbursements are on schedule as well as expenditures. Good for them.

There is a request for a letter of support from Self Help Enterprises for the communities of Sultana & Munson storm water project. This will include a storm drainage basin and why not make it recharge project as well? Wegley said you can find some sandy areas east of Dinuba where this project will be located. This is west of the communities so the water will be running downhill. There was another request for a letter of support for a new well and pipeline for Orosi. The board agreed to send these letters pending review by legal.

Next Limas said there hasn’t been many questions regarding the SGMA fees. Wegley then spoke about the Groundwater Sustainability Plans. He said the state can spend two-years reviewing the plans. No GSA in its right mind wants to wait two-years to get starting on plans. There is as 2025 report needed. There is also the first annual April 2020 annual report due. He posted a map of the groundwater depths in the Kings Sub Basin. The KREGSA is losing groundwater from underground flows going into the Kaweah Sub Basin white areas.

Wegis showed the schedule and the public draft of the GSP will be September 19th. There will be a December 19th public meeting to adopt the GSP. He is worried about the state’s computer system being able to absorb the input without crashing. Grant submission deadlines have often crashed the system. However, this document is going to be revised for the next 20-years. Director Jack Brandt asked DWR’s timeline to approve GSPs. The Kings Sub Basin is about one million acres – one of the big four or five and requiring a good deal of effort for coordination. Mendez said being data rich will help protect GSAs from the state. The monitoring network isn’t complete yet but Alta ID measures more than 160 wells. The cities within the GSA generally have documented wells. There is a 40-acre recharge pond by the Tulare County community of London. I think the similarities to the capital of Great Britain ends at the name. But the Kings Sub Basin aquifer responds well on the east side during wet years. Wegley said there could be scenarios when the groundwater levels on the east side could get high enough to cause problems. That would be a good problem especially for the west side as more surface water could be conveyed there for recharge. Wegis and Mendez talked about how water is allocated on the Kings River and if I understood one seems to get a choice between drinking from a cocktail straw and a fire hose.

Jansen gave an update on state legislation saying there now a safe drinking water funding package that doesn’t require a water tax or fertilizer tax. AB 658 by Joaquin Arambula had been moving forward until a committee chair got his or her nuts and nose in it. This was the recharge as a beneficial use bill. Some amendments now include letting the State Board decide if the recharge matches the GSP in its opinion. So much for local control. It sure looks like the state will screw the Valley and agriculture at every opportunity.

Wegley said look at the High Speed Rail money. Just the overage on that project could fund the entire Valley’s water infrastructure needs. He’ll be presenting the KREGSA’s GSP at the next meeting and agreed to not commit a three hour data dump. He said the GSP is going to around 300 pages. And that was that.

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ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  Copyright 2019 by Don A. Wright

SGMA The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 calls for the formation of Groundwater Sustainability Areas within Basins and Sub-basins to develop Groundwater Sustainability Plans.

Kings River East GSA Board – Chairman Buddy Mendes Fresno County, Vice Chair Mary Fast, Secretary Jack Brandt Alta Irrigation District, Eddie Valero Tulare County, Fernando Rubalcaba Special Districts Drinking Water, David Brown Special Districts Irrigation Water, and Steve Boos Ag Production. General Manager Chad Wegley, Attorney Lauren Layne

www.kingsrivereast.org

DWR listing: Basin San Joaquin, Sub Basin Kings

Number   5-022.08