The Kaweah Delta Water Conservation District held its Tuesday, November 7, 2017 board of directors meeting at its Farmersville headquarters. Chairman Don Mills called the meeting to order a little after 9:00 am. It was a little cooler this morning and that is one of the nice things about the San Joaquin Valley. It can get dry and hot here and the cold, wet fog can feel like skinny dipping in December. Spring time isn’t always reliable. It can go from cold to hot with very little pleasant in between. But the fall is the nice time.
The meeting began with a lot of public comment but none of it was directed to the board because folks in the room didn’t hear Mills open the meeting. KDWCD General Manager Mark Larsen told the board the crews working in the field will start wearing bright orange and yellow safety shirts. Staff announced the district received a $3.7 million grant check of which it gets to keep 20 percent for recharge projects. Tulare ID and the City of Visalia will also receive funds from this check.
Larsen gave the water report and said the Army Corps of Engineers is almost finished refurbishing the damaged control tower on the Terminus Dam on the Kaweah River. He then gave the board an update on what is happening at Friant. He said other districts on the Friant Kern Canal are talking about putting together a separate entity to administer O&M on the canal. Director Chris Tantau said the Temperance Flat issues are moving forward and the subsidence on the FKC is taking a front burner position. Engineer Dennis Keller said some money has been spent on studies. Tantau said they’ve just found out the worst part of the subsidence on the canal has dropped another six inches in the past six months. He also said there will be a retreat for the Friant board at a place in the Kings Canyon Park. I thought he said Versace Lodge but it was something else.
Larsen said the Lindsay Strathmore, Orange Cove and Hills Valley IDs have approached KDWCD to band together to purchase a seat on the Temperance Flat MOU. Hills Valley would take the lead on this and Keller would be the representative with OCID GM Fergus Morrissey being the alternate. Larsen said attorney Aubrey Mauritson has reviewed the MOU and is comfortable with the language. A seat costs $100,000 per year. Keller said this isn’t as much about more yield as it is about operations. He gave a little history. A lot of folks don’t realize Temp Flat was the preferred dam site over Friant but the depression hit and the smaller Millerton Lake was created. Director Stan Gomes was in approval and the board agreed to join the MOU with the other three partners. It was stipulated should there be minor revisions that don’t change the intent Mauritson and Larsen were authorized to evaluate them and determine if it needs to come back to the board otherwise they can agree. So, Kaweah Delta is now a member of the Temp Flat MOU.
Keller spoke next about the Oakes Basin project and said right now the oak and other trees are being water by water truck. The irrigation system will be completed in the spring. The Paregien Basin’s deep creek structure has been completed and the engineering firm of Moore-Twining Associates didn’t submit a progress payment in time for this meeting. Keller said on October 26, 2017 said the bids coming in have been higher than expected for the phase II portion of the project. He recommended Agee Construction receive the bid at $207,000 and Caltrans was waiting for that to move forward on securing permits. The board agreed to award the contract to Agee Construction.
Staff reported on the Terminus Dam power project and said a stop log crane modification has been made so maintenance can be done without having to hire another crane. It was also said a large transformer needs to be drained and some loss wires fixed. This transformer is as big as two Volks-Wagon buses and is full of oil that must be drained but can be used again. The elevator on the control tower is 80 percent complete and the question was raised who would ride an elevator that’s only 80 percent finished. Turns out all that is left is having it inspected and certified and that equals 20 percent of the job.
SGMA was the next item and Larsen said the Prop One grant is the big deal at this time. There are three GSAs in the Kaweah sub basin. The application deadline is November 13th but if it can be turned in ahead of time DWR could give it a review and if there’s a problem get it fixed. Times short. Once this happens consulting engineers GEI can start putting together the GSP. Larsen said there needs to be some more management options for the Greater Kaweah GSA. He’d like to see a new manager hired. The plan all along was to wean the GSA off of the KDWCD’s you know what. Larsen said we would have to reach out to the landowners to pay for this and Mills asked him what he meant by “we.” Outside of that the coordination agreement is going forward. The next GKGSA meeting will be Monday November 13th at the KDWCD boardroom. I think it starts at 1:00 pm.
Larsen added he spoke with Tulare ID about partnering on the Temp Flat MOU and it chose to go its own way. TID engineer Aaron Fukuda was present and said his board considered it but felt the MOU was important enough to have its own seat. The next meeting will be December 5th at 9:00 am. And 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.