The Kaweah Delta Water Conservation District held its Tuesday June 5, 2018 board of directors meeting at its Farmersville headquarters. I learned something the other day by accident. I don’t usually eat at Taco Bell but I did so in Dinuba. The younger man behind the counter told me I get a free soda. I asked him why and he said seniors get free drinks. Who knew? Also, who knew I look so much like a senior? Chairman Don Mills called the meeting to order around 9:00 am.
After all the bookkeeping was over and done a gentleman presented the board with weather modification also known as cloud seeding. Cloud seeding has been going on in the Central Sierra Nevada range since the 1950s. Some of the presentation was very technical but it breaks down to seeding creates more snow, which creates more runoff. Rick Stone, RHS Consulting said there is less snow and warmer weather. What I didn’t understand is how to measure the yield. The claim is about 10 percent or so which equals about 100,000 a/f on the Kaweah River watershed. There was a page full of mathematical equations to explain. I couldn’t read it and my guess is I wasn’t the only non-engineer in the room who couldn’t immediately grasp the concept. He said it is much like fishing – more flights will get you more water. Engineer Dennis Keller said there are some great locations for ground based seeders. Tone I asked if you can see the contrails or chemtrails or whatever but no, you can’t except in the most-rare conditions.
KDWCD General Manager and all around nice guy Mark Larsen gave the 2018/2019 budget report. He was thorough yet concise. It wasn’t too painful a presentation and by the way; I don’t mean to make light of financial matters. Staff and management work very hard to develop sound financial data. They are very important to the health of a district but they are not given to be written about. At least in my opinion it is often futile to write about people talking about numerical figures. About the only time I get into it much is when there is something out of the ordinary. So, I can say this, no one was taken by surprise by Larsen’s presentation. The board was asked to approve two resolutions; the first for the general fund and appropriations limit and the other for assessments. I did notice the district will invest $3,000 for an icemaker to comply with Cal OSHA. I don’t recall anyone giving a rat’s butt if I had ice water as opposed to wet water when I worked in the Valley through the summers. I’m sure there were no icemakers when my father and his family picked crops in the Valley summers. The board approved both resolutions.
The water supply report was next and Water Master Vick Hernandez said peak storage was May 30th in Lake Success at 95 percent. He said considering the way the year started it was pretty amazing. There is only about 20,000 a/f worth of snow left on the mountain and no one lost any water to flood space. There is even a little water left over (8,800 a/f) to sell for $70 per a/f or use the water to make up for losses. Mills said in his mind it makes sense to sell the water and the board agreed. The board also ratified a water exchange between Lindmore ID and St. Johns WD.
The Friant report was next and Keller said the California Water Commission scoring for Temperance Flat was poor and therefore the funds available are low. There is more scoring beyond the Public Benefit Ratio later this month. Stantec Engineering is working on some computer modeling to work through different scenarios. He said the state was willing to pay $171 million to tie up $250 million worth of water. Keller said Mario Santoyo representing the San Joaquin Valley Water Infrastructure Authority JPA sent a letter for $8 million in early money and that didn’t sit well with the investors and others as it could entangle future water use. The Friant Kern Canal is still dealing with subsidence but FWA staff is working on a solution. More about that in a future report.
Keller continued reporting on other projects the KDWCD is also working on. There are the: Oakes Basin, Paregien Basin and Hannah Ranch South projects. The Paregien Project has a box culvert that needs an apron to prevent erosion but somehow or other Cal Trans has its nose and nuts in the middle of it and wants KDWCD to sink another $50,000 in a study. Although Cal Fish & Wildlife and every other permit issuer has signed off on the project Cal Trans is being intransigent in the matter. Larsen reported the Hannah Ranch project is going well. This project requires a huge amount of dirt to be moved. Keller said in 2019 the schedule calls for a turnout on the Friant Kern Canal that will tie-in a ditch that extends to the north east past six cells to the Kaweah River channel gates. Evidently the slope of the ditch will hold 60 a/f and allow gravity flow from either end. The cells are designed for habitat enhancements. Keller said there is some money to be saved due to less need for extra channels and it looks like the gate at the river would impound less than 50 a/f and under six feet high freeing the project from state dam oversight. Which is nice to have less state government involved. That was the mood in the room I read.
A quick update on the Terminus power project; it’s working.
Larsen reported on the Greater Kaweah GSA saying the biggest data gap has been from the east side and that information is coming in. Craig Moyle of Stantec is helping with public outreach. There has been some confusion on all the meetings taking place in the Kaweah Sub Basin. I knew that would happen because too many folks call the Sub Basin the Basin and such. Anyway GEI is supposed to put up a website with a master meeting list. Larsen said the Sub Basin technical advisory team needs to be put on hold until the three GSAs’ tech folks get their own product together. The MOU needs to be changed for that to happen but it looks like it will. There’s some grant money possible for more monitoring wells. Finding a new GM for the GKGSA has been “a process”. Mills said only about 20 more meetings and they’ll nail it.
Under legislation Larsen said the two water bonds before the public complement each other but the big water bond is in November. The federal HR 8 bill deals with the Army Corps of Engineers and got banged up along with the Farm Bill.
The next meeting will be July 3rd and we’ll we if there is quorum. The meeting then went into closed session.
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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
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
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.