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Kern Groundwater Authority GSA December 20, 2017

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The Kern Groundwater Authority Groundwater Sustainability Agency’s Board meeting was held on Wednesday, December 20, 2017 at the Kern County Admin Building in downtown Bakersfield. Chairman Michael Blaine, Wheeler Ridge Maricopa Water Storage District called the meeting to order at 8:00 am. There was a quorum so all the district managers had board members present and their bases covered with living proof they attended the meeting and weren’t off catching an early round of golf. There are some new faces on the board and the new manager Terry Erlewine was fully up and running.

The minutes were approved, there was no public input and Erlewine gave the draft 2018 budget a spin around the room. Blaine said there hasn’t been time to address some of Shafter Wasco Irrigation District and Arvin Edison WSD’s concerns. There is some talk about allowing discounts to the disadvantaged communities while the districts pick up the difference. If some of the members want to opt out of certain expenses there is a special activities category or if all members are in it goes to everyone’s expense account. Director Royce Fast, Kern County Water Agency said if this budget ties KCWA to anything more than a first quarter cash call his agency will withdraw. Former manager Eric Averett spoke on this and said the budget could be modified later. Attorney Valeri Kincaid spoke by telephone saying changing the motion to an interim budget might better serve the GSA at this point. Blaine said the executive committee never looked at this with the intent of getting everything wrapped up by Christmas. The motion to accept the budget was amended to cover only the first quarter. Kincaid further stated a first quarter cash call might be a good idea as well. Director David Couch, Kern County Board of Supervisors amended his motion and Director Bill Taube, Kern Water Bank amended his second to include all of Kincaid’s suggestions. The board passed this unanimously.

Erlewine then discussed with the board the Best Management Practices as DWR’s draft of sustainable management criteria lays out. He said there are undesirable results that must be avoided. There’s six of them and it includes seawater intrusion, not something the KGA is concerned about. He said the BMP contains much terminology such as minimum thresholds, milestones and demonstrated values. DWR wants to see the results as data from each monitoring well within a GSA. The comments he’s seen have been pretty mild. One comment KGA came up with is reducing the number of monitoring wells from every last one providing data to allowing averages from areas. He felt this will be much more usable to the GSA and far easier to develop.

Erlewine gave the board an accounting for the accomplishments the GSA has achieved. He said Kincaid has made good progress on legal issues and Larry Rodriguez of GEI has also made progress on other issues. SGMA requires GSAs to begin preparing the GSPs. Erlewine drafted a letter of notification to DWR outlining the GSA’s plan to write the GSP, including how stakeholders with be included. Blaine said he’s contemplating a hearing in February to asked the disadvantaged communities how they would like to be included. The board approved Erlewine to send the letter to DWR.

There was no new business so Kincaid gave the board her report. She talked about the attorneys’ group from the members getting together and drafting further agreements on the JPA’s rules. This has been divided into three parts and should be finished by sometime in January. She said there wasn’t much disagreement with the way things have been worked out. She said the final draft of the part II out soon and part III in plenty of time for the January meeting.

The meeting then adjourned.

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ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  Copyright 2017 by Don A. Wright   No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of DAW.

SGMA The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 calls for the formation of Groundwater Sustainability Areas within Basins and Sub-basins to develop Groundwater Sustainability Plans.

The Kern Groundwater Authority membership:

Arvin-Edison Water Storage District, Cawelo Water District, City of Shafter, Kern County Water Agency, County of Kern, Kern-Tulare Water District, Kern Water Bank Authority, North Kern Water Storage District, Olcese Water District, Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District, Semitropic Water Storage District, Shafter-Wasco Irrigation District, Southern San Joaquin Municipal Utility District, Tejon-Castaic Water District, West Kern Water District, Westside District Water Authority & Wheeler Ridge-Maricopa Water Storage District

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