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Buena Vista Water Storage District February 20, 2019

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The Buena Vista Water Storage District’s board of directors met on Wednesday, February 20, 2019. One thing you can almost always count on at BVWSD is a concise meeting. There is also a good packet to read through the items and that helps because of today’s 25 open session items 14 of them were on consent calendar. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of the consent calendar. Just about every special district meeting (and water and irrigation districts are special districts*) could benefit from a more judicious use of the consent calendar. It does no one any good to listen to two directors argue about how the district could have saved $.27 if they’d bought that bushing at the Rocky Auto Wreckers Yard instead of Bob’s House o’ Auto Parts. However, when there’s a lot on the consent calendar the meetings are usually shorter, sometimes much shorter. Shorter meetings make for shorter reports and that’s why I’m padding this introduction paragraph for all I’m worth.

Chairman John Vidovich called the meeting at 10:30 am and the minutes were approved. In other housekeeping matters there were no public comments and the consent calendar was approved. Under the financial report the board voted to pay its bills, issue warrants and accept the treasurer’s report.

BV won the ACWA JPIA President’s Special Recognition Award. Good for them. ACWA is the Association of California Water Agencies and it has an insurance program for the unique needs of water-based districts. The Joint Powers Insurance Authority recognizes districts that go above and beyond. The board also approved supporting the North West Kern Resource Conservation District’s Mobile Lab.

Water supply was next and General Manager Tim Ashlock reported State Water Project supplies are at 125 percent of the April 1st average. That’s a lot. The San Luis Reservoir west of Los Banos is jointly operated by the SWP and the federal Central Valley Project. BV still has 17,000 a/f of carryover in SLR if I understood correctly. That could be in danger as more water is pumped from the Delta. There may even be an Article 21 declaration and BV’s share would be 10 cfs. The board is looking at a .7 a/f distribution to its growers. From what I could gather none of this is carved in stone just yet. There are a couple of possible scenarios that could improve things. So far this has been a very good water year.

Buena Vista has been upgrading its pipelines and the Belridge North Connection was approved but staff was instructed to get another bid on the construction. BV is also a member of the James Water Bank Authority. Director Terry Chicca is the representative on the three-man board. Cawelo Water District’s Assistant GM Dave Hampton and Rosedale Rio Bravo WSD’s Dan Bartell are alternates for their districts. The board approved Ashlock and BV engineer Andrew Bell as alternates.

There was no update on the California Water Fix. The new Governor Gavin Newsom has cut it back to one tunnel and that doesn’t sound good for ag supplies. Ted Page from the Kern County Water Agency was at this meeting but even he didn’t have anything new to add to the Fix. The KCWA has been a major player in the previous proceedings regarding the tunnels.

Buena Vista has its own GSA within its boundaries. With the Kern County Board of Supervisors bailing on the whole SGMA thing white areas are stranded. Vidovich recommended BV take in the neighboring white areas under the BVGSA wing. The problem is without some kind of signed agreement the existing GSA members would have to pay for the white area’s portion of the costs in running a GSA and developing a GSP. The county really put folks in a bind. Not long ago during the GSA formation phase Kern County threatened to overlay all the GSAs; nominally to preserve its land use authority. That caused a ruckus because it happened at the last minute. Now in another last-minute move Kern County has washed its hands of SGMA leaving the white areas at the mercy of either willing GSAs or the State Board. Under SGMA the counties are the default for the white areas and if the counties don’t do their job and the white areas can’t join an existing GSA the State Board ends up calling the shots. That could be very draconian and expensive. My sense is the BV’s white area neighbors would be wise in signing an agreement to be a part of the BVGSA.

There wasn’t anything in the director’s forum and the meeting went into closed session at 11:00am.


DISCLAIMER OF RESPONSIBILITY; Waterwrights strives to provide his 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. *Special doesn’t mean they ride the short buss and go on extra field trips. They’re special because they were created by special legislation in Sacramento.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  Copyright 2019 by Don A. Wright

Buena Vista Water Storage District was organized in 1924 to manage the irrigation, drainage systems and water rights originally held by Miller & Lux. The district controls an average 130,000 a/f of Kern River water and approximately 21,000 a/f of supplies from the State Water Project. BVWSD is its own GSA. Board of Directors meetings are held the 3rd Wednesday of the month at district headquarters located at: 525 North Main Street, Buttonwillow, CA 93206. Phone: 661/324-1101  General Manager/Engineer: Tim Ashlock, Engineer Andrew Bell, Controller: Marybeth Brooks, Attorney: Robert Hartsock.

Board-President: John Vidovich, VP: Terry Chicca, Secretary: Jeof Wyrick, John Cauzza, Larry Ritchie