The Glenn Colusa Irrigation District met at its headquarters on Thursday, August 19, 2021, at its Willows headquarters. The meeting was in person and there was a call in number. I attended by phone and although I didn’t recognize all the voices they was a clear audio provided. Chairman Don Bransford called the meeting to order at 9:00am.
GCID has three ladies with a combined 90 plus years of service to the district. They all want to retire before Christmas this year. The quality of work Kathy Barr, Cheryl Taylor and Cynthia Davis was taken into account and their leaving won’t upset the pension fund but it is a brain drain. The staff and board sounded pretty sad to see them go and will most likely have a party of some kind. It was difficult for any of the directors to make a motion to accept the early retirement but they did and board agreed.
Next the board looked at a proposal to enter into an agreement with Davis Engineering for an analysis of crop-based water rates. I believe it was General Manager Thad Bettner who said the district wants to be sure it is providing the best rates for the growers and the district. There is a Cal Poly intern reviewing water balances and crop patterns and that information will tie in with Davis’ analysis. The data considered is pretty wide ranging and will include what’s going on in other like districts in similar circumstances. The goal is to have this in place for next year and the evapotranspiration rates will be established from 2013 and there is other, older data from earlier studies.
Some of the directors’ concerns of the study and analysis were accuracy and not having the data overly complicated. As we all know this year was very dry and GCID ran into some new challenges. The supply has been pretty good historically but the time to refine the data has come. One of the directors said it may be tough to work through some of this but the district is going to have to set up an allocation process based on the reality of the situation and this study will be a good first step in setting up a solid water accounting system. The board approved the study up to $100,000.
There is a groundwater substitution transfer program at GCID that has produced more than 6,000 a/f. Staff wants to disburse payments to landowners. There were still a few accounting details to work out but the board said to go ahead and pay once the volume has been determined.
Next the maintenance report was given. Despite the statement earlier in this report about good audio quality I literally couldn’t understand a word said. There was a lot of paper shuffling noise and other strange, unearthly sounds I couldn’t identify. I could hear someone say the district is parking some equipment on land that had at one time belonged to the district but may have reverted back to the original owner. This owner asked if the district would please put some insurance on the property since someone was welding or some such and the landowner wanted to be indemnified. Staff will do a title check.
Water operations were presented and someone said the district is taking some surface water and there is some pumping taking place. Again, for some reason it was difficult to hear. There was a Glenn County task force meeting last week and there wasn’t much new information to bring back from that. There was a pulse flow sent through the drainage system, I don’t know which system but it was designed to help the smelt. I believe that took place last month. Water usage this year tracked similar to 2015 after April. I believe that was what was expected. The dry and hot conditions this year caused higher than average usage but so far August is tracking lower usage than 2015. Everyone there agreed every possible drop needs to be conserved. The costs are rising towards the end of the season.
Engineer Zach Dickens gave his report saying there wasn’t much to report. Holly Dawley said there will be a public hearing at next month’s meeting to discuss the water resources plan. The electrical build and design is underway and staff hopes to bring this to the board next month. She said SGMA is heating up and the Groundwater Sustainability Plan should be ready for review soon.
The treasurers report was given by I think Louis Jarvis. Most of it was pretty standard. GCID is having to deal with insurance and who knew? Health insurance costs have gone down a bit. Good for them. This was ACWA JPIA insurance and I’ve heard at other districts the slow down due to that nasty virus actually lowered payouts and the savings is being passed on. Damage claims are still being analyzed and the district hasn’t agreed to pay any at this point.
Bettner gave his report saying there has been more voluntary agreements talks but he’d report on that during closed session. He said there are other factors driving Shasta outflow that have been overriding contractor agreements. He said expect to hear reports about fish dying because the temperature control pool is running out. He’s working with NCWA’s David Guy on some responses. Bradford said the salmon population is actually pretty good and there will be some mortality due to temperatures but things are better than you’d think. Someone from the fishy agencies had released some inaccurate data that was scooped up by the news media and had to apologize for that. The fish coming back from the ocean this year were born in 2018, grandchildren of the low 2015 crop. So the returns are pretty good all things considered.
The attorney’s report was next and Ally Stevens said her daughter’s back to school nail polish was criticized the very first day of school. My my. Outside of that there wasn’t much to say in open session. That was that at 10:00am the meeting went into closed session.
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GLENN COLUSA ID – President Donald R. Bransford, Vice President Peter Knight, John Amaro, Logan Dennis and Blake Vann.
Staff: Thaddeus Bettner – General Manager, Zac Dickens – District Engineer, Kevin Nelson – Superintendent, Louis Jarvis – Finance Director, Andy Hitchings – Attorney Somach, Simons & Dunn.
344 East Laurel Street
Willows, CA 95988
DWR SGMA # 5-021.52
From the GCID website: Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District (GCID) is dedicated to providing reliable, affordable water supplies to its landowners and water users, while ensuring the environmental and economic viability of the region. As the largest irrigation district in the Sacramento Valley, GCID has a long history of serving farmers and the agricultural community and maintaining critical wildlife habitat. The District fulfills its mission of efficiently and effectively managing and delivering water through an ever-improving delivery system and responsible policies, while maintaining a deep commitment to sustainable practices. Looking ahead, GCID will remain focused on continuing to deliver a reliable and sustainable water supply by positioning itself to respond proactively, strategically and responsibly to California’s ever-changing water landscape.