The Kaweah Delta Water Conservation District held its Tuesday, March 5, 2019 board of directors meeting at its Farmersville headquarters. New leaders in this new year. Ernest Conant has taken over the reins at the US Bureau of Reclamation’s Mid Pacific Division which includes the Central Valley Project’s Friant Division and Laurel Firestone is now on the State Water Resources Control Board. Conant was a successful water attorney from Bakersfield and Firestone was an attorney for a NGO from Visalia. So, whether Governor Gavin Newsom meant to or not the Valley is getting more representation. Obviously Newsom didn’t appoint Conant but still good for the Valley.
Chairman Don Mills called the meeting to order at 9am and there were no public comments. There were a couple of board seats that must have ran unopposed because everyone kept their positions. General Manager Mark Larsen said the Friant Water Authority will hold its annual meeting on April 10th at the Crystal Palace in Bakersfield. He said the Kaweah Basin Water Quality Association is working with Provost & Pritchard on a clean water filling station. There is a PBS documentary being filmed locally at the Kaweah Oaks Preserve. There are Valley Oaks in this area so big three grown men couldn’t hold hands and reach around the trunk. Really beautiful and majestic trees.
The consent calendar was passed and Water Master Vic Hernandez said there is a never ending flood release going on. It started out as a 10-day run but has bumped up due to the atmospheric rivers. He said Lake Kaweah released more water in February than it did in all of 2015. There is enough water to take early Class II deliveries early. Engineer Dennis Keller said there is rain at Huntington Lake which is 7,000 feet or so. There is a big storm coming in today but it is also a warm storm. It looked like a big atmospheric river was coming ashore at Santa Barbara which would give Kern County a good dousing. I heard on the radio it was coming ashore at Santa Clara south of San Francisco. It was raining on the drive here this morning. Hernandez said the Army Corps of Engineers has been notified there will be more opportunities to release water as the month goes on. Larsen said while the water is welcome the up and down of input in the reservoirs is making it difficult to decide how to manage the extra supplies. Mills said Pine Flat Reservoir on the Kings River is experiencing similar things.
On the CVP side Larsen said KDWCD got 10,000 a/f of Class II Water from Arvin Edison. He said the district needs to get as much of that in the ground as it can by the end of the month. Lindmore ID had to transfer 5,000 a/f to KDWCD so it could convey the water through its authorized channels.
Director Chris Tantau is the Chairman of FWA. Larsen said things are improving. Financing on the Friant Kern Canal “kink” has been discussed. He said the South Valley Water Association is becoming more receptive to FWA. He said five South Valley directors attended the latest Friant meeting. Tantau said everything O&M, the conveyance issues, title transfer on the FKC and other matters are getting expensive. Friant pays a portion of the costs San Luis Delta Mendota Water Authority incurs bringing water to the Exchange Contractors. It’s one of Friant’s biggest expenses. Tantau said rewinding all the pumps at the Jones Plant is about $70 million and Friant is responsible for 40 percent of this. There is a $400 million bill in Sacramento to help fix the subsidence problem on the FKC. This does open up the possibility to some matching federal dollars. He said if a repair can be decided on there could be work started in 18-months. FWA has also released the Valley Blue Print. Friant wants to address the 2 million a/f of water imbalance and prevent as much fallowing as possible. Keller said some of the east side water going to refuge supplies could be brought back to the Valley and other sources serve the wildlife habitats. The Blue Print takes partners. Tantau is meeting with Bill Lyons from Newsom’s administration and Congressman TJ Cox to go over the subsidence issues. Geoff Vanden Huevel complemented Tantau for the outreach efforts. Mills commented the old Mid Valley Canal path happens to sit in the shadow of the High Speed Rail line that may now never be built. It goes through white area and may well find much better acceptance now than when first introduced.
Keller said the Temperance Flat authority has transferred to the MOU committee thanks in part to the efforts of Tulare ID’s GM Aaron Fukuda. Keller said there is about 850,000 a/f subscripted or the notion of subscribing is in place and the consultants said the amount of money to be saved reducing the size of the dam is insignificant, so build it on out to 1.5 million a/f.
Keller reported on the Oakes Basin project and said a number of employees have left the City of Visalia’s employ. He is meeting with department heads to try and get some folks back on the work flow. The Paregien Basin project was slowed down due to Caltrans taking a long time to approve its part. KDWCD had to pay the contractor for the extra time it had to pay on its bond. Attorney Aubrey Mauritson said this is a good way to close out the contract. There were some erosion problems at the Hannah Ranch on one of the roads. Keller cautioned to not recharge there yet. The facility isn’t ready.
Eric Osterling, GM of the Greater Kaweah GSA reported he met yesterday with DWR chief Karla Nemeth in Sacramento on the request of the governor to give a report on the challenges being faced. He said communication between sub basins could be improved. DWR gave them an update on what they see happening when its time to turn in GSP. Osterling said DWR will only accept one GSP per sub basin and it wants it in PDF form. He wondered if they have the band-with. He’s still working on a grower outreach presentation in April.
Larsen said after seven years a check for $7,000 from the ACE has shown up in the mail. This has been on the books forever. If I understand correctly KDWCD is only owed another $600,000 from 2004. Mills said for some reason folks think the feds should take over healthcare. Larsen said the only money Kaweah Delta now owes is annual O&M. Terminus Dam Power Plant is spinning along. The next meeting will be April 2nd and the meeting went into closed session.
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ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2019 by Don A. Wright
Kaweah Delta Water Conservation District
2975 N. Farmersville Blvd.
Farmersville, California 93223
Board of Directors
Don Mills – President, Chris Tantau – Vice-President, Ron Clark, Stan Gomes, Jeff Ritchie, Mike Shannon & Brian Watte
Mark Larsen, General Manager – email@example.com
Terry Stafford, Facilities Manager -firstname.lastname@example.org
Dian Rader, Administrative/HR Coordinator – email@example.com
Larry Dotson, Senior Engineer – firstname.lastname@example.org
Shane Smith, Projects/Administrative Manager – email@example.com
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.