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Cawelo Water District/GSA May 10, 2018

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The Cawelo Water District held its Cawelo Groundwater Sustainability Agency and its board of directors meeting on Thursday, May 10, 2018 at its headquarters in Kern County. The CGSA meeting began at 8:30 am and there was a gentleman who lives in a white area who said there is a 300 acre division divided into 20 acre ranchettes. He was concerned about the how domestic wells are going to be charged. He has 400 acres and was running cattle. But now only his home and domestic well is being used. He suggested just charging off the PG&E bill. CWD Assistant General Manager Dave Hampton pointed out there is a diminutive use that could cover his GSA costs.

Hampton gave an update on the website development. He said the site is almost finished and attorney Robert Hartsock said he’s looking it over for any problems that might be there. Also, the recent public outreach meeting was fairly successful. One fellow in the room said in Indian Wells Valley GSA the costs is $50 per a/f. He said the goal is to drive ag out of the area. But where will the money to make things work come from without ag? He said that GSA has figured out how to spend money. There is a brackish water study out there that could increase supplies by 15,000 a/f annually. Good luck. The GSA meeting closed and the regular board meeting opened.

Chairman Keith Watkins called the meeting to order at 9:00 am. There was one slight change to the minutes to clarify something and the minutes were approved. LeeAnn Giles gave the financial report and it sounded to me like CWD is on sound footing money wise. The board approved the treasury report and paying the bills. Under public comment I congratulated the board on the district’s new headquarters. The last time I was here the meeting was held in a portable tailor, so good for them.

GM Dave Ansolabehere reported the North Kern Transportation Agreement is almost ready to come to fruition. He’s been talking with NKWD’s GM Dick Diamond and his board is ready to get this off the books. This agreement has been hung up for 10-years over Kern River disputes with the City of Bakersfield.

  Hampton reported there has been a problem with the windows in the new buildings. He said there are 18 windows need to be replaced. Hartsock said it looks like the problem is between the contractor and the subcontractor. He recommended withholding payment until the contractors resolve their issues.

Ansolabehere reported a US Bureau of Reclamation grant for $750,000 and a DWR grant for $3 million towards the planed pipeline between Famoso to the Friant Kern Canal, if I understood. This project is moving forward on time. Two wells; 14 and 15 will have a pipeline to help bring an additional 600 a/f per month to the districts supplies.

Hampton said a landowner meeting is scheduled for tomorrow to talk about landowner recharge. He said the district has some concerns and wants to hear what the landowners are proposing. There are questions about conveyance and capacity for landowners to bring in water from elsewhere. Water quality is also something that needs to be addressed. Hampton said district facilities will have irrigation deliveries and other district uses as the top priority.          

Hampton has been tasked with the Irritated Lands Program. He said Poso Creek has had good flows this year and that triggered water sampling. There have been three samples since March and the quality is good. There is a technical work plan due next week and copies are available for review. He said the Tule River folks have pulled out of the work plan and that will cost CWD a little bit more. He also said the CV Salts folks got a comment letter from the Southern Coalition. He said the CV Salts folks looked at samples from the main drain in Buena Vista as the blanket statement. It was old data at that. He said the main drain is no longer used and not representative of water quality in the area. There is a boron limit but he wasn’t sure where that was coming from. The new Salt and Nitrate Plan is the direction things are shifting.

Ansolabehere said the district’s recommended interest in the California Water Fix could be 15 percent. Even in a full water year CWD would only get 5,500 a/f from the Fix. It was said other districts in the area are also looking at 15 percent buy in to the Metropolitan WD program. There is a lot of flexibility at this time. Director Brian Blackwell said it’s time to start talking with the growers. Hartsock had nothing for open session and Mr. Richard Schafer wasn’t present for the engineer’s report.

Ansolabehere gave this manager’s report saying the state allocation is at 30 percent give CWD a 1.4 a/f per acre supply. There is some supplemental water at $775 per a/f coming from Yuba County. That high dollar water is the only supplemental water mentioned. He said the district will be eating well costs from reserves. The board kicked around some “what ifs” considering the state’s reservoirs are in good shape. But there is always the chance some maniac in Sacramento dumps water out to the ocean. The board approved bringing in up to 2,000 a/f from Buena Vista WSD.

Ansolabehere reported on oilfield water. Despite all the left leaning panic the world continues to turn even with the use of water from oil fields.

The meeting then went into closed session for seven items; only one involved litigation, the rest were real estate or personnel 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, Eric Miller & 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