The Kaweah Delta Water Conservation District held its Monday, September 3, 2019 board of directors meeting at its Farmersville headquarters. Chairman Don Mills called the meeting at 9:00 am. There was no public comment and the consent calendar was passed. Water Master Vick Hernandez said the water delivery season will soon be over – like next week. The water year on the Kaweah was 152 percent of normal. So, short water report.
KDWCD General Manager Mark Larsen reported satraps from the US Bureau of Reclamation came out to review Kaweah Delta’s Central Valley Project operations. They got a tour of the district’s recharge projects and were a bit behind the curve. Engineer Dennis Keller said Kaweah Delta operates much different from other CVP contractors so cut them some slack. Mills said the Bureau will conduct its colonoscopy later.
Next was the Friant Water Authority report and Larsen said the members are looking at the water quality and adding water to the Friant Kern Canal. The further downstream the tougher it is. Arvin Edison has to watch out for boron in particular. Keller said if you set a boron level what does that do to the other constituents on the watch list. What about chemicals such as copper sulfate, additional silt and other unintended consequences? There is also the entire matter of the Bureau’s buy in. Larsen said the Bureau is also doing a CVPIA true up process. He said Friant is keeping a close eye on that.
The Valley Blueprint process is moving along. Director Chris Tantau is also Chairman of FWA. He said the VBp is moving on its own legs and is on track to the be a participant of Governor Gavin Newsom’s California Water Resiliency Plan. Tantau said there have been two landowner outreach events regarding the repairs to the FKC. SB 559 is bouncing around inside the capitol in Sacramento. Friant contractors are willing to put up $50 million but the project needs help in the form of further fiduciary funding. SB 559 may get added to a trailer bill. He said more to come and it may come this week. Keller reported he had a call with the engineering firm Stantec regarding Temperance Flat. It’s not to use the current buzzword “robust” from either the east side or the west side according to Keller.
Larsen reported on KDWCD matters. Construction has begun on a potable water station in front of the headquarters. The district gets a better parking lot surface in the deal and the folks in the area have a place to get clean water. Good for them. Next was a contract between the State Board and Kaweah Delta was presented to the board. It’s called the Water Settlement agreement and prevents the State Board from screwing around with Kaweah Delta operations due to the drinking water outlet. The board signed.
Keller reported on the Hannah Ranch project saying the interpretations of the ESA over the past few years have become a ball and chain. He believes there may be very good cause for an extension to the project’s timeline due to unforeseen flora and fauna snags. Larsen commented on other, similar projects. Mills said these projects are bringing return on investments from recharge. He said someday the GSA will set some policy on this matter. Partners want to get something out of the deal. There needs to be flexibility, value and transparency. There’s a People’s Basin project with the City of Visalia. Provost & Pritchard engineer Matt Klinchuch reported he attended the best meeting he’s been to on the project in the past three and a half years. He expects construction to commence next fall after the water run is cover.
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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
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.