The Eastern Tule Groundwater Sustainability Agency Executive Committee met on Thursday, January 21, 2021. Chairman Eric Borba called the meeting at 2:00pm and asked for public comments. There hasn’t been an executive committee meeting since last September and Borba thought there might have been more response. But no one had anything to say. General Manager Rogelio Caudillo informed everyone watching to be sure and sign up with the EKGSA website. The minutes were next and they passed without comment.
Caudillo then gave his report to the committee members. He said immediately after the last committee met, the next board meeting in November 2020 approved extraction fees and the rules and regulations were accepted. The fee rates didn’t receive a majority opposition so they were adopted. It wasn’t clear to me if this was a 218 Election or not but it sounded like it. At the November board meeting hydrogeologist Thomas Harder gave his response to the Aqua Logic report on groundwater conditions in the GSA. The Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Irrigation Training & Research Center proposal to review Land IQ data was accepted.
At the January 2021 board meeting Joel Kimmelshue of Land IQ gave a presentation of how the satellite can yield accurate evapotranspiration data. And the big deal was the agreement with the Friant Water Authority about helping fund Friant Kern Canal repairs.
There were some questions about the cost of water and EKGSA is now collecting $4.92 per a/f and that will double come June. Borba asked for questions and there was no response. He asked if everyone understood the agreement with Friant. I guess everyone but me understood it because you could still hear crickets.
Dave DeGroot of Four Creeks Engineering gave the committee an update on the GSA’s accounting and invoicing of landowners. DeGroot said there is a final audit of those who signed up for the Irrigated Lands Program and the addresses will be trued up with parcels. There are 80,000 or so irrigated parcels in the area covered. Many of the parcels are owned by the same owners or is grazing or fallowed lands and are included in that number. DeGroot said after cleaning up all this info invoices should go out the middle of next month. Transitional pumping invoices are sent out quarterly. If a grower exceeds his allotted amount of pumping there will be a penalty invoice sent out. That’s also sent quarterly and if you pump too much you could lose part of next year’s allocation.
Borba asked about consumption on non-irrigated land. Are the estimates and data collected accurate? DeGroot said he’s been working with Kimmelshue on spot checking audits. He has paid attention to citrus, fallowed and grazing land. He said a more detailed analysis with site by site comparisons are being developed and documented. DeGroot said before any invoices go out this will all be confirmed. He said so far the data shows the estimates to be very accurate. Borba said he has a theory that the “Tabletop” area with nothing planted heats up faster than the surrounding croplands causing a dry atmosphere to suck in surrounding moisture. Interesting thesis.
DeGroot said a frequently asked questions section was added to the GSA’s website. As more common questions are received they will be added. The Greater Tule Management Area invoice schedule for 2021 was posted on the site. He led the committee through the pages explaining the types and amounts of costs associated with the GSA. That could be very helpful to landowners trying to keep track of where their money is going.
The Tax Base
Someone asked about the response from landowners who are giving up their property for the FKC repairs. He wanted to know if Friant would have to pay into or deduct from billing for the land taken. DeGroot said he hadn’t heard from anyone on that matter yet but that opens up similar questions about any acquisition of private property by public agencies. Attorney Aubrey Mauritson said that she’d be willing to address this later offline.
Sean Geivet is General Manager to three districts in the EKGSA, all are members of FWA. If I understood him correctly he said not to deal away that point when negotiating with Friant over right of way for the canal repairs. It certainly is something to ponder. If FWA or another public entity such as the county or state roads buys land that property is taken off of the tax rolls. It doesn’t matter if the land is sold willingly or eminent domain is used by the public entities to acquire title to it the tax revenue stream is reduced putting a greater burden on the remaining landowners.
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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.
EASTERN TULE GSA
881 W. Morton Avenue, Suite D, Porterville, CA 93257 Phone: 559/871-7660 firstname.lastname@example.org DWR# 5-022.13
Staff: Rogelio Caudillo-General Manager, Aubrey Mauritson-Attorney
Directors: Porterville Irrigation District Eric Borba-Chairman, Saucelito Irrigation District Steven Kisling-Vice Chairman, City of Porterville-Monte Reyes, Tea Pot Dome ID-Matthew Leider, Tulare County-Dennis Townsend, Kern Tulare Water District-Curt Homes, Vandalia Water District-Dyson Schneider, Terra Bella ID- Geoffrey Galloway & White Area-John Corkins