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Cawelo Water District & GSA June 14, 2018

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The Cawelo Water District held its Thursday, June 14, 2018 board of directors meeting at its headquarters north of Bakersfield. The Cawelo Groundwater Sustainability Agency met first and Chairman Keith Watkins called the meeting at about 8:30am. Under public comment I shared my Saturn has heated seats story. That was a bit of a waste of the board’s time.

GSA Meeting

The minutes were approved and CWD Assistant General Manager Dave Hampton gave the SGMA update saying a draft stakeholder survey was marked up with comments. This was based on a DWR template. Hampton said CGSA is in a good place in comparison to other GSAs because the landowners in the district are generally on very good terms with the district and knowledgeable. Watkins asked if each entity will be surveyed as some entities own other entities. Hampton expects 300 or so surveys will cover it and should give enough information to make an educated assessment. Hampton said the GSA website is finished and he wants to host it on the CWD server. The board was fine with that. Todd Groundwater is ready to give an update on the modeling. Attorney Robert Hartsock suggested Phyllis Stanton come give the board a presentation. Engineer Richard Schafer asked if Todd gave an outline of what it will be doing. Hampton said the outline was included in the proposal. Schafer said the Tule Sub Basin received from DWR a 10-page list of what needs to be included in the GSP. He reduced it down to two pages and sent it back to DWR and they OK’d it. Schafer suggested Todd provide a checklist for sustainable criteria. He said he’d appreciate knowing what has been done on that subject as he considers it the most difficult part of the GSP. Consultant Dr. Scott Hamilton said there are three ways to determine the water budget and the amount from the “checkbook balance” method is needlessly scaring folks. It doesn’t take into account the underground flows adequately. One thing everyone agrees on is the criteria used is difficult. Schafer said the one of the most difficult pieces of data is determining the underground flow and having it match the sub basin. He said the hydrogeologist from each sub basin will have to work out the border lands. The board liked everything enough to adjourn the GSA meeting.


The Cawelo WD meeting began at 9:06am with the minutes approved. Controller LeeAnn Giles gave the treasurer’s report and the accounts payable report. The board approved and there were no public comments.


General Manager Dave Ansolabehere reported the North Kern Transportation Agreement may not end up being the longest item on the agenda ever. He said all parties are working to get the deal wrapped up. Hampton reported on the remodel of the CWD headquarters. He said there is some money left over from the carpet and several windows were replaced. By the way – the new HQ looks great.

Ansolabehere reported the pipeline projects in the district are going well. Hampton reported the landowner recharge program is getting good support and he’ll have a more detailed report soon. Hampton also spoke about the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program. CWD participates in the Kern River Watershed Coalition. There are challenges to the amendments put forth by the Regional Board by the enviro justice folks. The CWD board voted to go with the Kern River Watershed Coalition’s choice to enter as an intervener. Schafer said he doesn’t know how to avoid getting involved.         

Hampton next spoke about using the existing monitoring wells and using the appropriate data already existing. He said the Regional Board was OK with this. Staff is gathering the needed data. There are 19 wells targeted. Hampton also said the budget could be reduced to a little over $2 per acre.  Hampton noted it was Mr. Schafer’s work that allowed the savings. The board approved.

Hamilton reported on the California Water Fix saying the new JPA has signed an agreement with DWR to start up the Construction JPA to do design build. The State Board was concerned if the feds don’t participate it would send everything back to the drawing board but an agreement was reached with the federal contractors to protect them from harm, so they didn’t pull out altogether. Hartsock said none of this will prevent transferring Article 21 Water around Kern County.

Hartsock had nothing for open session and Mr. Schafer has been working with the California Fish & Wildlife on Poso Creek. He sent a letter asking if CFW had any interest at all since it’s been years in the making. Within an hour CFW sent him a response apologized for allowing the agreement to languish four years without a response. He was assured a state representative has sent out a signed draft to CWD.

Ansolabehere gave his report saying the energy rates were very close to being on target for estimations and prepayments. CWD overpaid $50,000 out of $500,000, so not bad. There is a solar project being built in the Westlands Water District that has nothing to do with the WWD. CWD is getting some prices to participate in buying power. Solar used to be $70-80 per megawatt hour and could be as low as $38 per MWH. He was excited about the options as was the board.

Closed Session

The meeting went into closed session for six matters.

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ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  Copyright 2018 by Don A. Wright   No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of DAW.

Cawelo Water District – The Cawelo Water District was formed on February 16, 1965 and encompasses approximately 45,000 acres in the North-Central portion of Kern County, California just north of Bakersfield. The District provides irrigation water for more than 15 different crop types with the majority being almonds, citrus, pistachios, and vineyards.

17207 Industrial Farm Rd., Bakersfield, CA 93308 661-393-6072


Keith Watkins – President, Brian Blackwell, John Gaugel, David Fenn & Mark Smith – Vice President


David Ansolabehere – General Manager
David Hampton – Assistant General Manager
LeeAnn Giles – Controller
Emilie Ortiz – Accounting Clerk
Candice Ramirez – Administrative Assistant

Richard Schafer – Engineer

Robert Hartsock – Attorney