The Kern Water Bank Authority held its Monday, August 14, 2017 board of directors meeting at its Bakersfield headquarters. I was 15-minutes late and as I feared – just when I walked in the room Director Bill Taube moved to adjourn into closed session. That was a good one. The KWB does hold fast meetings. Chairman Bill Phillimore doesn’t put up with monkey butting around and the folks around the table tend to know what they’re doing so I was surprised there was as much of a meeting left as there was. It must have bogged down on approving the minutes or something.
General Manager Jon Parker said some construction, lining the Cross Valley Canal – which will take another six weeks to finish – has reduced the conveyance ability to get more water to the recharge areas. The pinch points are on the Kern River but there shouldn’t be any problem getting more water from the Friant Canal. Still, water levels are coming back up in the monitoring wells. Previous records show a historical trend for pretty rapid recovery. Also on the bank minor berm repairs have taken place. There have been some failures at eight ponds from one degree or another of severity. There’ll probably need to be 25 turnouts replaced at the end of the recharge season. Also, also, 140,000 mosquito fish have been released. They have five broods per year of more than 100 per. I figured it out in report but not this time. I’m still trying to get caught up from being late.
Parker presented the board with a three-year rolling replacement budget. It starts at $5.6 million in 2018 and gets cheaper as it goes. Down to $3.2 million in 2020. The big upfront costs are replacing a turnout at a train trestle three new siphons as well as the 25 turnouts. So the pain comes first.
The bike path was originally going to require a neg declaration. But now the proponents are saying it’s not needed. But Parke pointed out gaining easement along KWB property so it may be needed after all. It is possible the easement could take place on Cal Trans property closer to the road. This has been going on for years.
Capital projects for this year included well replacement and rehab. That’s almost $2 million and arsenic remediation is running at $250,000. The on bank grazing has got the southern area up to speed for habitat and someone wants to purchase 26 habitat credits for about $400,00.
And finally, the Kern Fan Monitoring committee has streamlined the report to the facts. The next Kern Groundwater Authority GSA will be Wednesday the 24th. Current KGA manager Eric Averett has been recalled by his home board at Rosedale Rio Bravo WSD. Averett went above and beyond to lend his talents to the KGA and I’m not sure who will replace him.
Phillimore recommended establishing a committee to determine what other upgrades the band needs. There was no public input or old or new business. The meeting then went into closed session.
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KERN WATER BANK AUTHORITY
1620 Mill Rock Way, Bakersfield, CA 93311 Office: 661/398-4900 www.kwb.org
Staff: Jon Parker-General Manager, Danelle Scott-Accountant, Ernest Conant-Attorney, Nick Torres-Superintendent
Board: William Phillimore-Chair Westside Mutual Water Company, William Taube-Vice Chair Wheeler Ridge Maricopa Water Storage District, Steve Jackson-Treasurer Dudley Ridge Water District, Dennis Atkinson Tejon Castac Water District, David Beard KCWA Improvement District 4, Wilmar Boschman Semitropic Water Storage District & Scott Hamilton Westside Mutual Water Company
Located on a large, undeveloped section of the Kern River’s sandy alluvial fan, the Kern Water Bank covers nearly 30 square miles over California’s southern San Joaquin Valley. Ideally situated, both for its unique geology and its proximity to water supply and delivery systems, the Kern Water Bank plays a dual role in California’s economically vital agricultural heartland.