The Kings River Water District held its board of directors meeting on Thursday, October 17, 2019 at its Centerville offices. The sun was bright rising over the Sierra Nevada mountains and the canals were still flowing, I believe due to the unseasonably high levels in of storage behind Pine Flat Dam on the Kings River. I kind of like going to this meeting. These folks usually have a decent water supply and while that doesn’t relieve them of the other stressors of farming in California, they usually have a somewhat more positive demeanor that most. Unless it’s raining, then all the farmers are like ducks – they love the rain. Unless its during planting or harvest.
Anyway, Chairman Jack Paxton called the meeting at 8:00am and the minutes were approved and there was no public comment since I was the only member of the public. KRWD General Manager/engineer Nick Keller gave the financial picture and did such a good job the board approved. The audit was also completed and there will be a presentation next month. The district is still owed $60,000 in past due – 12 owners make up the bulk of the arrears. One private company that owes a big chunk of that money changed its policy saying it now needs a PO with the invoices. Keller told them as a public agency KRWD doesn’t have to have a PO, it goes off the county roles. Speaking of which Fresno County owes a good deal of money also since it hasn’t paid in three or four years. Good news, the district can serve its own liens without having to getting one of the sheriffs to do so. Keller explained there are amounts owed under $10 and if you go after one you go after them all; $10 or $10,000.
Superintendent Mike Sullivan reported demand is dropping off sharply. Director Steve Boos asked if anyone has a crystal ball, the long-term forecasts are not looking good. They said there may be a need for freeze water this year. That’s for citrus. There are some trees that need to be cut up and there was a gopher hole that got loose and rerouted water around a trash rack on one of the canals. Paxton had no report. Attorney Lauren Layne gave a legislative report saying SB1 was vetoed by Governor Gavin Newsom. The state legislature has the votes to bring it back. Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula’s groundwater recharge bill was signed but it still doesn’t include official language to make groundwater recharge beneficial. Assemblyman Adam Gray’s bill was vetoed and it would have helped with above ground storage. The bill for funding the NASA Snow surveys was vetoed. The San Joaquin Valley Water Blueprint is being developed with an economic analysis and is asking agencies to participate at $15,000 per and the Kings River Water Authority signed up.
Layne doesn’t usually attend this meeting so there is going to be something in closed session. Paxton said the KRWA Water Master Steve Haugen will be bringing back to the full board some provisions for flood water. Paxton said KRWA will be taking a bigger role in SGMA.
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Kings River Water District
The Kings River Water District meets at 8:00am on the third Thursday of the month at the Gerawan Farms Offices on Smith Avenue in Centerville California. KRWD is a member of the East Kings GSA and receives supplies from the Kings River. President Jack Paxton, Curtis Taylor, Danny Van Ruiten, Steve Boos & Mike Hacker.
General Manager/Engineer Nick Keller, Attorney Loraine Layne, Superintendent Mike Sullivan, Ditch Tender Ken Domoto. KRWD has about 19,000 acres of tree fruit, grapes and nuts along the Kings River bottom land on the east side of the San Joaquin Valley.