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Kern Water Bank Authority March 12, 2018

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The Kern Water Bank Authority held its Monday, March 12, 2018 meeting at its Bakersfield headquarters. Before the meeting I was told Wheeler Ridge Maricopa Water Storage District’s General Manager Rob Kunde is going to retire this summer. He told some of the guys he’s been with the district for more than 30-years and if they want to blame things on him after he’s gone to go for it. Someone asked, “Do we have to wait until then?” It was 3:00 pm and Chairman Bill Phillimore wasn’t in the room. It reminded me of the Far Side cartoon where the sheep were holding a party and it was failing miserably until the border collie showed up. Not to call Vice Chair Bill Taube a dog (but if I did a border collie would be a complement), but when Taube showed up order was restored – if not to the universe, at least to the room.

Taube kicked things off at 3:04 pm and the minutes were approved and Danelle Scott gave the treasurer’s report; it was approved; and the bills paid. The board was asked to approve an extension to the current lease on the office space it is now occupies.* General Manager Jon Parker said it is that time and he said depending on the options the KWB could save some money. The landlord has been pretty good to work with and the board agreed. Parker likes the location and Taube said he likes how the vagrants aren’t so thick in the neighborhood. Someone said they let Taube in the building and someone else said the security guard was on a smoke break. The only explanation for this kind of behavior must be the upcoming weather predicts a great deal of rain. Anyway, the board was good with the deal.

Parker reported on 2017 was the best year yet for recovery. Recharge levels are going up. The long-suffering bike path is still in the works. Well replacement and rehabilitation are underway. The Capitalized recharge facility repairs were necessary after the long drought. The turnout on the trestle was delayed don’t know why. The IRWMP construction is complete and he hopes the final draft report to DWR will be finished this month. The 2017 Capital Projects will come back with a surplus. That was good news. There are no cattle grazing on the water bank currently. Parker said he’d like to wait until the ground dries a bit and is harder. Parker showed a map of where new ponds could be developed without impacting habitat.

Next Parker reported on committees saying the Kern Fan Monitoring committee is meeting. The Todd Groundwater model will have a code and only the KFM will have access to this. The Kern Groundwater Authority has asked the KWB to take over a piece of land that was owned by Chevron Oil and there are no outstanding environmental issues. It would become part of the water bank and be used as habitat and not recharge. There is also a road that extends a half mile onto the bank. Parker said it’s bad, folks go back there shooting and cutting locks. Now that Kern County wants a bike path by the water bank it was suddenly happy to condemn its easement and now the road can be closed.

In regard to SGMA Parker wants to speak with Terry Erlewine about how the KWB’s groundwater levels should not be subject to regular SGMA requirements for safe yield. There are already mitigation measures in place to prevent undesirable results. There has been talk about lumping all the water banking together in one chapter of the GSP. Parker expressed doubt about the one size fits all approach. He will be talking with representatives of other banking entities to work this out. Kim Brown suggested there be a policy position on water banking included in the KGA’s GSP and other agreements. There was no old or new business and no public input. There was a short closed session and the meeting adjourned.

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ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  Copyright 2018 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.  *Occupy Bakersfield.


1620 Mill Rock Way, Bakersfield, CA 93311 Office: 661/398-4900

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.