The Exchange Contractors GSA met at its headquarters in Los Banos on Friday, November 3, 2017. This is the first official meeting and it started at 8:00 am as this is the best time. The first order of business was the flag salute and then they had to seat a board. The directors and officers were the same for the GSA but for Kim Brown sitting as the official from Columbia Canal Company. A gentleman named Adan Ortega with Ortega Consulting joined the meeting and attorney Paul Minasian informed the board of the conflict of interest code and the need to post it.
Steve Chedester, Executive Officer of Ex Con told the board it needs to get insurance. They also had to set up a set of books but there won’t most likely be a separate audit for 2017, rolling the months of November and December into the 2018 books.
Jarret Martin, Engineer with Central California Irrigation District gave his report and said Dr. Ken Schmidt has prepared the data for the GSP. Martin attended a round-table in Fresno County for the schools to inform them of SGMA and to meet outreach requirements. There is a MOU between Ex Con GSA and the County of Fresno. Martin said the big push right now is gathering the data needed to develop a GSP and the intent will be transmitted to DWR. Martin told the board about the $1.5 million grant to be used by the GSA to develop a GSP. Chedester presented the board with an updated MOU with Fresno County. He said the update was just the name; from Ex Con Water Authority GSA to Ex Con GSA.* This MOU helps to clear up the white area in Fresno County and the board agreed to the MOU.
The meeting was completed and adjourned at 8:25 am.
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ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2017 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. *Does anyone else have trouble with MS Word turning GSA into GAS automatically? I try to catch it but if you see GAS instead of GSA know I know the difference.
SAN JOAQUIN RIVER EXCHANGE CONTRACTORS WATER AUTHORITY
The Exchange Contractors cover almost a quarter of a million acres in Fresno, Madera, Merced and Stanislaus Counties.
The Exchange Contractors Water Authority mission is to effectively protect the Exchange Contract and maximize local water supply, flexibility and redundancy in order to maintain local control over the members’ water supply.
James O’Banion-Chair Central California Irrigation District, Kim Brown-Vice Chair Columbia Canal Company, James L. Nickel-Treasurer San Luis Canal Company, Mike Stearns-Director Firebaugh Canal Water District
Steve Chedester-Executive Director, Adam Hoffman-Water Master, Joann White-Administrative Assistant, Patty Baldini-Office Assistant, Paul Minasian-Attorney
The San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors hold some of the oldest water rights in the state, dating back to the late 1800s. The rights were established by Henry Miller of the legendary Miller and Lux cattle empire. In 1871, Henry Miller constructed canals to divert water from the San Joaquin and North Fork of the Kings Rivers for irrigation of his vast acreage. Today, several of the original Miller and Lux canals are operated by the Exchange Contractors.
Although Henry Miller’s canals served the irrigation needs of his estate in the western portion of Fresno, Madera, Merced, and Stanislaus counties, in order for more growth on the east side of the San Joaquin Valley to occur, more water was needed. In 1933, the United States Department of Interior undertook the Central Valley Project, a vast undertaking to build dams throughout the great Central Valley including the Sacramento, American and San Joaquin Rivers. When construction of the Friant Dam (north of Fresno) was under consideration, feasibility studies showed that irrigation development of the Friant Project between Chowchilla and Bakersfield depended upon water being diverted from the San Joaquin River at Friant Dam and brought to the east side of the valley, via the Friant-Kern Canal.
To accomplish this, the government asked the heirs of Miller and Lux to agree to “exchange” where they receive their pre-1914 appropriative and riparian water from the San Joaquin and Kings Rivers for guaranteed deliveries of “substitute” water from the Sacramento River by means of the Delta-Mendota Canal and other facilities of the United States. This agreement, known as the “Exchange Contract,” along with the accompanying “Purchase Contract,” were reached in 1939 and that led to the name “San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors.” In normal years, the Exchange Contractors are guaranteed 100% of their contractual water allotment (840,000 acre feet) and in critical years the amount is 75% (650,000 a/f).
The Exchange Contractors, however, did not abandon their San Joaquin River water rights. Instead, they agreed not to exercise those San Joaquin and Kings Rivers’ water rights if guaranteed water deliveries continued through the Delta-Mendota Canal or other facilities of the United States. In the event that the Bureau is unable to make its contracted deliveries of substitute water to the Exchange Contractors, the Exchange Contractors have