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Kaweah Delta Water Conservation District May 5, 2020

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Ger Bennett BannerThe Kaweah Delta Water Conservation District held its board of directors meeting by phone on Tuesday, May 5, 2020. KDWCD Chairman Don Mills called the meeting to order about 9:00 am. General Manager Mark Larsen reminded everyone the rules of smooth tele-meetings. All the directors were present and they jumped right in approving the consent calendar. Just to show they were limber they approved the purchase of a new Ford pickup.Conterra

District Engineer Larry Dotson was going through his files and discovered Kaweah Delta had acquired a small piece of land from I believe the City of Visalia for a construction project. If I understood Kaweah Delta never intended to retain the land past the construction time. This was a few years back and fell through the cracks. The board voted to slap a quit claim deed on it and move on down the road.

Water Master Vick Hernandez gave the water report and said there has been an announcement by the US Bureau of Reclamation of a 55 percent Class I and zero Class II Friant allocation. Consulting engineer Dennis Keller reported Lake Shasta didn’t reach the three million plus acre feet of storage and there won’t be a 100 percent supply for the Exchange Contractors but not enough of a shortage to cause the Bureau to move Friant supplies to Ex Con.

Director Chris Tantau reported CVP Friant water allocations are ticking up as reported. He said the Friant Water Authority is in negotiations with the Friant Kern Canal O&M contract for a longer term. He said this is going fairly smooth. He also said title transfer on the FKC is moving forward and a there may well be a decision made by the FWA board at this month’s meeting. It was mentioned some of the Friant folks are leery about taking title at this time. FWA staff is also putting together a full report on funding for canal repairs. FWA also joined a lawsuit against the state for trying to push back the federal biops.

Keller reported a proposed turnout on the FKC for KDWCD’s Hannah Ranch recharge project is going through the multiple layers of paperwork. A new turnout has to be inserted in the FKC bank and the resulting stream will need to cross a road to arrive at its destination. That requires all manner of paperwork from all manner of government agencies. Part of the catch is there are plans to widen the road which is a state route. It may become a four lane and just in case it will charge Kaweah Delta accordingly. Keller said this road widening may not happen in his lifetime. The goal with the turnout is to be able to fill the basins in 48-hours.

The Terminus Dam at Lake Kaweah had a power contract with Southern California Edison and that expired last March. The power plant is for sale and there was some problem with the amount of megawatts produced. The So Cal Ed folks have agreed the plant can expand from 17 to 20 megawatts. It wasn’t clear to me but Larsen said things are moving in a positive direction. Also, it appears the plant will become a community choice aggregate. There will be a meeting later this week. Mills commented this contract was what his grandfather called the most “piss complexed” he’s ever read and doesn’t want Keller to see it because it would prevent him from complaining about the complexity of Keller’s contracts. Keller said his was a timber man and used to judge contracts by the amount of Maalox needed to complete.

Greater Kaweah GSA GM Eric Osterling gave his report saying the GSP has received the standard comment from California Department of Fish & Wildlife everyone else has. If it’s the one I read CDFW is greatly distressed over the fate of groundwater dependent ecosystems below fifty feet deep.

There have been words floating around the DWR may leave the SGMA portal for public comment open for an un-ended amount of time which is somewhat unsettling. The first report was turned in on time by April. Osterling said this being the first report required there wasn’t much time left to get it over the goals by deadline. There was a lot of learning and he fully expects the next report to be much better. ACWA wants GKGSA to report on some of its struggles and solutions it’s encountered in dealing with SGMA. Osterling checked in with the other two GSAs I the sub basin to coordinate.

Mills said the coronavirus messed up many a college kid’s summer plans and he and Larsen are both looking for opportunities to incorporate the upcoming generation’s brightest. The meeting then went into closed session.  

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ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  Copyright 2020 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, Jimi Valov, 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

Dennis Keller – Civil Engineer (Keller/Wegley Consulting Engineers)
Aubrey Mauritson – Attorney (Ruddell, Cochran, Stanton, Smith & Bixler, LLP)

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.