The Kern Groundwater Authority Groundwater Sustainability Agency held its Wednesday, July 25, 2018 board of directors meeting at the Kern County Board of Supervisors chambers in Bakersfield. I lived in Bakersfield in the 3rd and 4th grades when the education establishment attempted to teach me Kern County history. I don’t remember much but I think one of the railroads named the town after a guy named Baker who had a field with a water tank used by the steam locomotives. I do recall a story about a French trapper named LeBec who had a wide spot in the road on I-5 up on the ridge route named after him. He was killed by “X” bear. I recall asking several times what kind of bear is an “X” bear? Was it a grizzly or brown or black bear? No one knew and to this day I don’t know of any “X” bears outside of Kern County.
KGA Chairman Dennis Mullins called the meeting at 8:00 am with the Special Activities Agreement #4 management committee. Someone comes up with a plan or a project that not all the members want to participate and/or give money towards. Those who do join the SAA Committee. In this case the engineering firm of Provost & Pritchard wants to get a gig defining sustainable management criteria for the KGA. The agenda also shows Prop 1 money could be stirred into the mix.
KGA General Manager Terry Erlewine gave a presentation on what was being proposed. The costs is $145,800. They’re going to bring in ag economists and other specialists. P&P will work with the individual members signing on to the SAA. Erlewine had talked it over with district managers yesterday. There are some challenges as a one size fits all won’t work. But the plan has the flexibility to fine tune its self. Erlewine said in a perfect world this could take 18 months to complete. However there isn’t 18 months so the hard deadline will spur things forward.
Jim Beck, former GM of the Kern County Water Authority asked about the Kern River GSA’s involvement. The KRGSA has a groundwater model that will be a good tool and there shouldn’t be much problem working together. Marcos Perez, USDA asked who was working on the groundwater model and the KRGSA has engaged Todd Groundwater. Perez asked what the plan was for monitoring and he was told that is part of the implementation and not the planning. There are a variety of means to do this from individual well monitors to satellite imaging to show usage on crops.
The committee adjourned and the board started up at 8:39 am. The minutes were approved as was the treasurer’s report and the accounts payables were paid. The 2017 audit has been completed and is being written for next month’s board meeting.
Planning Manager Patty Poire gave the board an update on one of the Prop One grants. It’s coming along and DWR will allow some extra time. Engineering firm GEI wanted Task Order #17 to be amended and the board agreed. Next Poire said the draft basin setting status has been released. It’s a large document and available online. She said she met with the oil industry representatives last week to make sure there isn’t a hiccup with the document. Kern County is currently the leading oil producing area in the lower 48.
West Kern WD GM Harry Starkey reported on the Urban Committee meetings saying folks are meeting and there is an open invitation for all urban areas in the county. Erlewine reported on the Policy Coordination Committee spent time dealing with how to get along with other GSAs and white areas. Also, climate change estimations have to be coordinated as well. The Basin Setting document was given to the other GSAs for comments.
Erlewine said there wasn’t much to highlight in the forward work plan that hasn’t already been discussed this morning. There was no new business and attorney Valarie Kincaid called in and said getting the Prop One grant agreement with the KRGSA should be ready for approval next month. Tri County Water Authority and the Delano Earlimart ID GSAs have been corresponding with KGA and would like to meet.
The meeting then went into closed session for one potential act of litigation.
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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