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Kaweah Delta Water Conservation District December 3, 2019

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The Kaweah Delta Water Conservation District held its board of directors meeting on Tuesday, December 3, 2019. It was foggy this morning, not the worst I’ve seen – like 50 mph fog. But still we haven’t had as much fog in the Valley as we used to. I’ve been told that’s because our air is much cleaner and there are less particulate matter for the water to condense around to form fog. It used to get so foggy the trees would drop water like rain. I don’t miss driving in it but it is nice to have a cold foggy night with a fire going. It gets quiet in heavy fog.

Chairman Don Mills called the meeting to order at 9:00am. Water Master Vick Hernandez wasn’t present due to his son getting married in Hawaii. KDWCD General Manager Mark Larsen said the poor guy’s son was in the military and stationed there. So good for him. Larsen gave the water report and said the storms are much welcomed. There should be another storm passing through later this week. Good for us. There is a leaky release gate on Terminus Dam that has been a source of trouble for some time. Last time the Army Corps of Engineers worked on the gate the bolts had rusted. So they put stainless steel bolts on and they sheared. I guess they’ve special ordered something. The Corps have been sandblasting on the project and set up a big vacuum downstream to collect the debris and keep sand out of the stream bed for some reason.

Engineer Dennis Keller said the first part of the storm had snow, but it was dry. Some rain came and a wetter snow raised the amount of water content. Measuring the snow content has become a perpetual hassle. Department of Water Resources is supposed to monitor snow levels. There is one DWR man (I didn’t catch his name) who has all the necessary experience, intellect and vision to make the snow surveys work for the people of the state of California but he can’t get the needed resources to fix things. Kaweah Delta and others are looking at privatizing the service and of course getting the NASA flights up and running regularly is a priority as well.

Keller reported he developed a four tier report regarding the Friant Kern Canal repairs. He’s been working with Friant attorney John Bezdek on legal and engineering issues. Keller said the contracting districts and the Friant Water Association staff are at odds over some of the tier one issues about paying for everything. He also met with US Bureau of Reclamation’s Michael Jackson and staff to get their perspective on FWA taking title to the Friant Kern Canal. Most of the Friant contractors are converting their contracts from water supply to repayment.* The Bureau is wondering how it will meet deliveries if the FKC is owned by the contractors. For instance Ivanhoe Irrigation District has paid off its CVP capital costs and is no longer inspected by the Bureau. Director Chris Tantau is also President of FWA and there was a recent board retreat for that board. Tantau said there is more to be looked at but it appears a decision will be made in time. Keller said the Madera/Chowchilla Canal contractors are not interested in taking title of that facility.

Director Ron Clark went to the Friant retreat and said he sees some of the districts that left FWA for the South Valley Water Association are returning. The recent biops are on hold due to the lawsuit from Governor Gavin Newsom and that needs to be worked out. Keller said water quality in the FKC is getting closer to drinking water standards and conveyance in the reduced capacity on the canal have are keeping things hopping. He also reported the Temperance Flat project is under subscribed at 800,000 or so acre feet. He said Temp Flat isn’t going to help the white areas in time to improve things by 2040.

Larsen reported on the Hannah Ranch project and said the excavation is about halfway finished. He said the compaction rate of the clay layers to keep channel lose to a minimum has improved with the rain.

Larsen said maintenance is on schedule to wrap up by the end of the year. The Terminus Power Plant has a suiter to purchase it. The penstock was inspected last week and found to be in pristine condition.

Eric Osterling reported on SGMA. He said the Greater Kaweah GSA’s GSP has comments trickling in slower than he’d like. GKGSA is one of three GSAs in the Kaweah Sub Basin and Osterling said to expect the coordinated GSP to be adopted in January. There will be a meeting on the 17th with all three GSA management teams. He said there was a positive article in the Sun Gazette (a fine publication out of Exeter) about the work being done to deal with SGMA. Osterling also said a Prop 68 grant has been submitted but at the advice of DWR there was a last minute scramble to rewrite it to be more competitive. The GKGSA board agreed to help find funding to deal with CV Salts. There is a fear that could be dumped on the GSAs. Mills reported his son Dennis Mills, Executive Director of the Mid Kings GSA had a public hearing for the MKGSA’s public comment on its GSP. Mills said the meeting went so smooth it only took six minutes. They also didn’t serve donuts and coffee it was reported.

The next KDWCD meeting will be January 7th, 2020. The meeting them went into closed session.

DISCLAIMER OF RESPONSIBILITY; strives to provide his clients with the most complete, up-to-date, and accurate information available. Nevertheless, 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.’s clients therefore rely on the accuracy, completeness and timeliness of information from 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. * See the earlier story about the state of reporting news for more info on contract types.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  Copyright 2019 by Don A. Wright

Kaweah Delta Water Conservation District

2975 N. Farmersville Blvd.
Farmersville, California 93223



Board of Directors

Don Mills – President, Chris Tantau – Vice-President, Ron Clark, Stan Gomes, Jeff Ritchie, Mike Shannon & Brian Watte



Mark Larsen, General Manager –

Terry Stafford, Facilities Manager

Dian Rader, Administrative/HR Coordinator –

Larry Dotson, Senior Engineer –

Shane Smith, Projects/Administrative Manager –

Office and Field Staff
Chemical Applicator/Equipment Operator – Jim Mudford
Equipment Operators – Jesus Sandoval, Chris Bell & Tommy Crosswy
Equipment Operator/Mechanic – Ryon Van Essen
Hydrographer/River Operator – Jose Rivas & Rick Avila

Water Master – Victor Hernandez
Senior Equipment Operator – Tom Dilbeck & Doyle Pettyjohn

Accountant – Shelly Heier
Administrative Assistant – Kim Hollis
Board Coordinator – Anita Wilson
Office Assistant – Kathleen Halvorsen
Engineering Technician – Matthew Jacobus

Primary Consultants

Bruce George – Special Projects Consultant
Dennis Keller – Civil Engineer (Keller/Wegley Consulting Engineers)
Aubrey Mauritson – Attorney (Ruddell, Cochran, Stanton, Smith & Bixler, LLP)
Richard “Dick” Moss – Civil Engineer (Provost & Pritchard Consulting Group)
Shelley Orth – Editor/Wordsmith

From the Kaweah Delta website:

The Kaweah Delta Water Conservation District (KDWCD) was formed in 1927, under the provisions of California state law known as the Water Conservation Act of 1927, for the purpose of conserving and storing waters of the Kaweah River and for conserving and protecting the underground waters of the Kaweah Delta. Later the Water Conservation Act, as well as the purpose of the District, was expanded to include power generation and distribution.

The District is located in the south-central portion of the San Joaquin Valley and lies in portions of both Tulare and Kings Counties. The total area of the District is about 340,000 acres with approximately 255,000 acres located in the western portion of Tulare County and the balance, or 85,000 acres, in the northeastern portion of the Kings County.

The Districts lands are primarily agricultural in nature, although the cities of Visalia and Tulare constitute significant areas of urbanization. Farmersville is the other incorporated area. The population of the District is currently estimated to be in excess of 175,000 people with the principle crops being cotton, misc. field crops, deciduous fruit and nut trees as well as alfalfa.

Numerous public and private entities within the District’s boundaries divert water from the Kaweah River and its distributaries. Nearly all of the lands served with Kaweah River water also are served irrigation water from groundwater, primarily due to the erratic and relatively undependable nature of flow on the Kaweah River. All municipal and industrial water uses within the District are supplied from groundwater.

KDWCD and Tulare Irrigation District (TID), which lies entirely within the boundaries of the Kaweah Delta Water Conservation District, has a long-term contract with the federal Central Valley Project (CVP) for water from the Friant Division of the CVP. TID has historically received substantial quantities of CVP water surplus to the demands of the District which augment the Kaweah River supply.

The District and the Kaweah River groundwater basin have experienced long-term groundwater overdraft estimated in 2007 to be as much as 40,000 acre-feet per year. The District has performed multiple studies of groundwater data to determine the extent and volume of groundwater overdraft within its boundaries. There are currently over 40 recharge basins within the District covering approximately 5,000 acres. While KDWCD owns and operates many of these groundwater recharge basins, it does not provide water banking services for others.