The Kern Water Bank Authority held its board of directors meeting on Tuesday, May 5, 2020 on the phone. I joined the meeting right at 3:00pm and folks were introducing themselves. Chairman Bill Phillimore read everyone’s phone number and there were the usual gang hanging out. The first order of business was approving the minutes from last month’s meeting.
We hit the jackpot with an audit given by a Mr. Young. Sorry I didn’t catch his first name. I want you to understand when I was younger I experienced a traumatic 45-minute oral report from a CPA with a difficult speech impediment. You can imagine my relief when the first responders arrived to revive me from the coma inducing ordeal. I realize I bring this baggage with me to other audit reports and perhaps someday the therapy will allow me to come back to leading a normal life. Until then the only recourse available. . . Wait – I see Mr. Young gave a succinct, informative report and the board approved. Special recognition went to KWB accountant Danelle Lopez’s cooperation and help in preparing an audit that found everything in order.
Lopez also gave the financial reports and there has been a new development this year. KWB is no longer involved in revolving bond fund, variable interest rate. That’s not the correct term for it but I sensed a certain flavor of giddiness from being out from under the financial vehicle is correctly called. Good for them. Also, Director Rob Yraceburu got his name added to the checking account. I’d trust him.* The treasurer’s report was approved and the board looked over the expenses the Bank accrued since last month. The board approved paying its bills.
General Manager Jon Parker next presented the board with some information about the Voltus Demand Response Agreement. Voltus is a company that bundles power, electrical power. When you have as many pumps as KWB you can’t afford to run out of juice. I can’t say I fully understood the agreement but the board understood it well enough to approve.
Staff reports were next and Parker said some things but this was a audio meeting and I’m not going to swear I caught every word, it was hard to hear him and I couldn’t see the slides presented as u didn’t sign into the Google . The bank has charged almost three million acre feet so far. Water levels for April weren’t available but pressure readings were and they were much the same as last month leading one to believe water levels have not changed dramatically.
Parker said there are some studies that need to be updated but he believes the oldest wells are most vulnerable. There is a drilling rig on the property at the moment. Just like power the bank needs operational wells and pumps. There are two or three wells that aren’t looking good, but wells don’t come cheap. The board reached a consensus to rehab or re-drill the worst well since the rig won’t be able to complete more than one well before the study is finished and the board can decide which wells need to be followed up with by the next meeting. Phillimore directed Parker to include financing options for further well development.
Parker said recharge basins are being developed on the bank. The main canal infrastructure construction can wrap up soon. There were more financing discussions about $16 million in expansion work. I don’t think that meant the bank take on a larger physical footprint but rather improved infrastructure and facilities. The KWB is also a wildlife habitat area and can deal in credits as well as graze cattle here and there from time to time.
The Kern Fan Monitoring Committees have been cancelled. The Kern Groundwater Authority meeting in April was mostly a way to authorize paying the bills. The next meeting is scheduled for May 27. There will be no KWB engineering committee scheduled right now but Phillimore said it might be good to get together with that committee on the pending well report.
There was not old or new business for the meeting. Lopez rechecked some of the phone number displayed. There was no public input and at 3:40pm the meeting went into closed session. Phillimore didn’t expect any reportable action taken today. That was that.
DISCLAIMER OF RESPONSIBILITY; Waterwrights strives to provide his clients with the most complete, up-to-date, and accurate information available. Nevertheless, Waterwrights does not serve as a guarantor of the accuracy or completeness of the information provided, and specifically disclaims any and all responsibility for information that is not accurate, up-to-date, or complete. Waterwrights’ clients therefore rely on the accuracy, completeness and timeliness of information from Waterwrights entirely at their own risk. The opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not represent any advertisers or third parties. *I’m not trying to sound all puffed up, like my approval is needed for Rob’s signature to get added to the checking account, but I’m just saying I would trust him. He knows his way around a bank.
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.