The Kern Water Bank Authority held its Tuesday, July 13, 2021, board of directors meeting remotely by Zoom and from its Bakersfield headquarters. Just before the meeting started each participant took center screen as they joined the meeting. It looked like the opening credits of a television show about water banking. I think one thing online meetings has done for our nation is increase nasal hair grooming awareness.
Chairman Bill Phillimore called the meeting to order with prompt British propriety at 3:00pm. It wasn’t long before the minutes were approved and Danelle Lopez gave the financial report. She did her usual good job and the board approved the reports and paying its bills. The KWB has a pretty hefty power bill, like $17,000 a week to run the pumps and other accoutrements needed to bank water.
Next, General Manager Jon Parker started the staff reports. The report started with a photo of a wading bird on the bank somewhere. Parker introduced John Ocana who I guess is a consultant to help with keeping track of project funding and spending. His audio sounded like someone was turning his volume up and down as he spoke. I can tell you what he posted on the screen. KWB as $12.8 million for a recharge enhancement project. The well projects have $4.9 million budgeted. I don’t know what it takes to label maintenance as capitalized or not, but KWB has $2.5 million dedicated.
Parker said the bank is running low on funds at this time due to high PG&E bills as well as the Pastoria expenses. He said there could very well be a need to dip into the revolving funds for a million bucks or so. He said the payments to the bank are coming in but they haven’t all arrived yet. Phillimore said he sees it as entirely appropriate to draw from the capital line and it should be easy to pay back.
Parker said there is an estimated 190,154 a/f scheduled to be recovered by the end of December using 85 wells. That could change between now and then. Last year was big on recovery so this year the draw down will be deeper, but that’s what water banks are for. There is a tremendous amount of water recharged during normal and wet years.
The Bike Path
The legendary Kern County Bike Path is still under construction. There’s a fence running along Enis Lane next to the path to keep folks out of the bank property. A car has crashed through this fence and it must be replaced. Kern County is liable and will make the replacement.
Superintendent Nick Torres reported recharge basin construction is complete with SCADA completed by the end of the year. KWB has 2,800 acres in its Kern River Area Project. The Kern County Water Agency wants 100 cfs from this source. KCWA is funding part of this work needed to deliver that water. KWB wants a priority right to move water across the Pioneer Project area and Parker said he hasn’t heard back from KCWA yet.
Torres said 56 basins structures have been replaced as has six road pipe crossings. The Strand Siphon Project has had plans approved and KWB is negotiating with Rosedale Rio Bravo WSD and Irvine Ranch WD on some of the details such as pipes preventing canal flow. This is plumbing on a large scale. Parker said there are other joint projects that could become a part of this.
Torres reported on well replacements and five are complete. Two more wells are under development and two more are likely to be identified that need replacement. One well burned out its motor and had to be replaced. Intakes and turnouts, pump stations and rerouting well discharges are all underway.
Parker said the only cattle on the bank are on the north area, about 160 head. He said they are there for tumbleweed control. Cattle can eat young tumbleweeds before they lose the green and get brittle. That’s something I didn’t know until I started attending KWB meetings.
Parker said the monitoring committee will change the way it processes and distributes information by producing cumulative data reports.
The Kern Groundwater Authority exempts KWB from having to report since it’s a bank. However, it is part of the Kern Subbasin so it is looking at participating in the data management system. The KGA GSA’s GSP is preparing for the DWR review that’s coming. The native yield Study by Todd Groundwater is going to cost more than $1 million and you can bet it will be picked over in great detail. The KGA will meet July 28th.
Under public comment Phillimore said, I believe I’m correct, that while the directors may have to come back to one room under the Brown Act he’s ok with keeping the online portion of the meeting available to the public. He also said there may be changes in the Brown Act and it would be premature for the board to make a policy decision yet. With that my part of the meeting was ended at 3:52pm. Those other poor souls had to sit through closed session where they talked about ongoing lawsuits and potential lawsuits. So that was that.
DISCLAIMER OF RESPONSIBILITY; Waterwrights strives to provide readers and clients with the most complete, up-to-date, and accurate information available. Nevertheless, Waterwrights does not serve as a guarantor of the accuracy or completeness of the information provided, and specifically disclaims any and all responsibility for information that is not accurate, up-to-date, or complete. Waterwrights’ clients therefore rely on the accuracy, completeness and timeliness of information from Waterwrights entirely at their own risk. The opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not represent any advertisers or third parties.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2021 by WaterWrights.net/DAW
KERN WATER BANK AUTHORITY
1620 Mill Rock Way, Bakersfield, CA 93311 Office: 661/398-4900 www.kwb.org
Staff: Jon Parker-General Manager, Danelle Lopez-Accountant, Steve Torigiani-Attorney, Nick Torres-Superintendent
Board: William Phillimore-Chair Westside Mutual Water Company, Sheridan Nicholas-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.