The Kern Groundwater Authority Groundwater Sustainability Agency held its board of directors meeting on Wednesday, May 26, 2021 from Bakersfield on Zoom. When the Zoom meeting starts that screen pops up and stops whatever you’re doing which I guess is as good a way as any to notify things are starting. This time an image of the agenda was up. But it just sort of sat there in the quiet until you could hear doors creaking and small dogs so you knew there were others and you wouldn’t be the only one should the wait be futile and the meeting glitched out.
Chairman Dan Waterhouse called the meeting to order at 8:03am and he mentioned the Water Association of Kern County webinar yesterday and praised it for adding some positive vibes to the situation. There were no public opinions voiced and some man who didn’t identify himself gave the treasurer’s report. The board approved and elected to pay its bills. Executive Officer Patty Poire said the audit begins next month.
Valerie Kincaid said the State Board put out a paper about curtailment methodology it will use in the drought. She said storage and water rights have been mixed together and the State Board clearly doesn’t have an understanding about how this is two very different matters. The State Board is looking at supply, demand and who to cut off first. The State Board is using B-120 forecasts to determine runoff. The B-120 tool has proven unreliable so far this year. It is much more of a monthly guess and that isn’t a good way to determine runoff supplies. The demand tool is based on data from three years ago. The comments were due yesterday and it appears from the Sacramento Valley through the San Joaquin Valley the comments reflected the shortcomings of the State Board’s approach. The courts have already ruled the State Board doesn’t have authority to curtail pre 1914 rights. Kincaid has been one of the bright lights showing the State Board’s overreach in noncombative terms.
Poire and Waterhouse praised Kincaid’s presentation at yesterday’s WAKC webinar which dealt with the State Board’s study to change water rights based on climate change.
Ex O’s Report
Poire reported the Native Yield Study is moving forward and she hopes the district members’ management are keeping up with this as it is a very impactful part of the GSP. She’s going to be going after grant funds to flesh out the study.
Next Poire reported GEI Engineering is working on a work schedule plan and is slated to release the Data Management System by June 11th. This information is due for transmission to DWR in July. Poire said there are two Disadvantaged Communities on the KGA board and she wants to include them in this process as well. The goal is to make things streamlined and less expensive.
She added there are some legislative bills that could become problematic. There is a major chunk of bucks in the Governor’s budget for SGMA related needs that have strings attached. Poire listed a couple of the problems.
Amanda Monaco, Leadership Council said her group is part of the AB 252 effort and she thanked Poire for pointing out some of its flaws. This bill deals with funding for repurposing of land that has to be taken out of production and the idea is to reduce the suffering for landowners. The problem is the funds sunset in 10-years and that leaves a limbo. Poire invited her to call her for more recommendations. The Environmental Defense Fund is also working on this bill.
North Kern Water Storage District sent the KGA notice it intends to adopt a neg dec, negative declaration, on Califia Farms’ recycled water project. There was no new business and the meeting went into closed session at 8:24am for two matters of potential 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.
Staff: Patty Poire – Executive Director, Valerie Kincade – Attorney, Marinelle Duarosan – Treasurer
The Kern Groundwater Authority membership:
Chairman: Dan Waterhouse.
Arvin-Edison Water Storage District, Cawelo Water District, City of Shafter, Kern County Water Agency, 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
DWR Listing: Basin San Joaquin, Sub Basin Kern 5-022.14