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Kern Water Bank Authority June 3, 2020

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Ger Bennett BannerLet us try this again. The Kern Water Bank Authority held its board of directors meeting on Wednesday, June 3, 2020 remotely from its Bakersfield headquarters. This meeting was originally scheduled for yesterday but the neighborhood the KBW offices are located in was under curfew for the possible lawless unrest plaguing our country now. The meeting is scheduled to commence at 3:00pm. Perhaps we’ll get to hear about what did or didn’t happen. I didn’t pickup anything on the news or hear from anyone who had anything to say about it. And as it happened I was able to speak with General Manager Jon Parker and he said nothing came of it. There was a similar rumor about a riot at one of the upscale shopping centers in Fresno and nothing thankfully came of it. By the way the KWB offices are in a nice neighborhood as well.Conterra

Chairman Bill Phillimore started things at 3:00pm with a roll call and the minutes were approved. Treasurer Danelle Lopez gave her report and it was approved. So was the authorization for KWB to pay its bills. There was a question about PFAS, the new dangerous thing in water and there are no known hotspots on the water bank. Good for them.

Staff reports were next and Parker said there was an American crow on the screen but I couldn’t get the visual. Was it a crow with the red, white and blue or just a crow that lives here at the water bank. Parker said recharge has stopped and recovery is now taking place. The wells are doing well – or good, perhaps. He expects once the amounts are totaled up almost 20,000 a/f have been recovered. Of course water levels have dropped but they rebound quickly.

There have been 47 road crossing and related structures replaced of the 200 originally pending. Turnouts have been replaced as well, or also. Wells are being refurbished. That’s a given with a banking facility this large, it’s an ongoing thing. Parker listed many of the wells currently undergoing work. Road repair, routine mowing and spraying are continuing. It was said drilling costs are low at the moment and now would be a good time to get any drilling out of the way. There are times, like droughts, when drilling is hard to get at any price. Another thing I learned from KWB is tumbleweeds are good cattle feed when they are young and green. I don’t know how I went half my life without knowing that. Cattle graze on the water bank.

Phillimore asked about the time schedule. The current schedule is to complete recovery by the end of next month for much of the bank, if I understood correctly. That means all other well repair, drilling and refurbishing could be completed by the end of the year. Superintendent Nick Torres wasn’t able to unmute to comment on this and that was noted as just as well. I never realized how often I use the word “well” until I’m writing about wells.

There have been 10 recharge basins grubbed, disked and water with eight more constructed. Parker said there has been a $1.7 million grant from DWR in the mail to pay for 1,025 more acres of recharge basins and improvements to the KWB Canal.         

The water bank has a great deal of habitat and therefore can sell habitat credits. Caltrans recently purchased nine credits. There is a lot of feed in the foothills from the late rains. Good for them. Grazing on the water bank and coast range foothills is in better shape than it has been.

Parker reported the long suffering bike path is expected to begin this summer. The meeting then went into closed session. There wasn’t anything that looked like it would be reportable and that was that.

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ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  Copyright 2020 by Don A. Wright

KERN WATER BANK AUTHORITY

1620 Mill Rock Way, Bakersfield, CA 93311 Office: 661/398-4900 www.kwb.org

Staff: Jon Parker-General Manager, Danelle Lopez-Accountant, Steve Torigiani-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 & Kim Brown 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.

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