The Kaweah Delta Water Conservation District held its board of directors meeting remotely on Tuesday, July 7, 2020 from its Farmersville headquarters. On or about 9:00am KDWCD General Manager Mark Larsen got things going with a roll call of directors. President Don Mills asked for public comment and there were none, the consent calendar was approved and then things got going. The board approved an amendment to the ag lease between Kaweah Delta and Shan 4LLC.
Water Master Vic Hernandez gave the water report on the Kaweah River next and said the April through July estimates are pretty close to what’s tracking. Much of the supply has been used and he expects Tulare Irrigation District to soon come offline. The St. Johns River supply is just about used up if I understood correctly. There was an offer of Kaweah River water, about 1,689 a/f at $80 per and a spread sheet detailing the arrangement was handed out. There was good interest from folks in the district and the board ratified the sale.
Central Valley Project supplies were the next item’s topic. KDWCD is a Friant Water Authority member and therefore gets a good portion of its supply from the US Bureau of Reclamation. Larsen said CVP has upped the allocation at 65 percent Class I and there is no Class II water available. I think of this like common and preferred stock. The Class I supply/preferred has to be 100 percent before there is any left over for Class II/common. Engineer Dennis Keller said the 65 percent’s probably it for Friant. South of Delta is still at 20 percent allocation. Those are CVP contractors on the San Luis Delta Mendota system on the Valley’s west side. Because the Exchange Contractors are first in line for supplies and they are South of Delta Friant likes to keep track of these things. Also, Friant helps to pay for the SLDM Canal. So there are plenty of reasons to keep track of what’s happening on the west side.
Larsen reported the funding for the Friant Kern Canal is being solicited from contractors along the canal. This is funds above and beyond a band aid fix. Director Chris Tantau is also the Chairman of Friant and he said title transfer of the FKC is on the back burner for now. Taking title for the canal from the federal government is an idea with some support. However the canal is broken and needs repair work. But the US Bureau of Reclamation will be the lead agency in those repairs and that allows much more room to the bidding process. Keller said there is $71 million from the WIIN Act for the repairs. Tantau said there are settlement negotiations going on with GSAs whose areas are causing the greatest harm.
Larsen reported the Hannah Ranch Project is going well with the exception of some equipment failures last week. Keller reported the project is dealing with adding some right of way for bicyclist and pedestrian lanes on Highway 245 as it crosses the Kaweah River. There’s a box culvert going in somewhere and more clay is being picked up as more earth removal is taking place. That clay will be handy for other areas of the project. The board was asked to authorize the publication of a bid notice for the Hannah Ranch/FKC turnout. Keller said getting a bid date set is awaiting environmental Oks from the Bureau. He said getting that bid date would clear away some big delays for securing materials like valves and such. The board gave Keller the OK to go to bid as soon as the proper EIRs are completed.
It was reported the Terminus Power Project is “chugging along”. Terminus Dam is what holds the Kaweah River in Lake Kaweah. It’s had some problems in the past but the Army Corps of Engineers got things fixed and the sale of the power plant is going through escrow. There were certain details to be discussed in closed session as the Brown Act allows for.
KDWCD Engineer Larry Dotson reported on the Inside Creek Check Structure modification project. The high bid was $192,492 but there was something wrong with it. It was awarded to the Todd Company for $151,000 and this is a local company so that’s good news. Mills commented every entity in the state is living with infrastructure 90-years old that were designed for 50 years of use. With the introduction of SGMA to everyday life that has to change.
Larsen said there has been a flurry of committee meetings with the Greater Kaweah GSA. The fact there are data gaps throughout the process was commented on numerous times in the GSP process. Everyone knew that was going to happen and it is being addressed. He said getting a great monitoring well network together is a big effort but should pay dividends. Using Kaweah Delta and the good will it has built over the years with landowners might be the best option when approaching landowners about monitoring concerns. Director Brian Watte said there doesn’t have to be any top secrete deal. There were a lot of wells drilled during the latest drought. Many of the pump companies and drillers could be helpful. Mills said having a letter from KDWCD requesting well logs could go a long ways. He said since every director is listed on the letter head a few follow up phone calls to neighbors should help as well. Having this data voluntarily will help save money while filling in the data gaps.
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Kaweah Delta Water Conservation District
2975 N. Farmersville Blvd.
Farmersville, California 93223
Board of Directors
Don Mills – President, Chris Tantau – Vice-President, Ron Clark, Jimi Valov, 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.