The Kings River Water Association held its Tuesday August 16, 2022 Executive Committee meeting at the Fresno County Farm Bureau headquarters and online with Ring. The meeting was scheduled to being at 9:00am in closed session for six items.
Chairman Frank Zonneveld called the meeting to order at 10:05am and the minutes were approved. The first report was from Water Master Steve Haugen who, under the communications reported he too saw the story about the possibility of a large flood taking place in California.
Staff Rocket Surgeon Matt Meadows gave the water situation report. He said the powers that decide these things will be shutting off Lemoore water at Pine Flat on Sunday. He also reported the recent monsoonal rains in the High Sierra added maybe 15-20,000 AF to Pine Flat inflow. He was asked what the bottom of Pine Flat will be and the answer is 130,000 a/f of storage. There are only three or four districts receiving supplies at this time.
Haugen reported there is an agreement from the 1980s with a ranch in the Tivy Valley Area. Someone, a venture capital group possibly, has purchased this Sun West property ranch and given the management to Fowler Packing. Upstream of the Kings River crossing of the Friant Kern Canal, Harris Ranch is looking to convert farmland to upper end homes. Maybe 400 units and it has been said local developer Ben Ewell will be involved in this project. Haugen said KRWA has an excellent relationship with Harris Ranch and he feels that will continue.
Consolidated Irrigation Manager Phil Desatoff asked about how the riparian rights and the fishery program will be impacted by this development.
Haugen said way back when, Jim Provost did a lot of documentation of the area and there is information on who has riparian rights and which wells are included in these rights. Laguna ID GM Scott Sills was wondering the same thing about impacts. Alta ID GM Chad Wegley asked when the last survey of riparian pumps was conducted and if there were any big pumps on trailers. There was a survey and some small, two horsepower pumps were found watering residential lawns.
Randy McFarland reported his report will be short because beyond recording the minutes he hasn’t done anything. There was no legal matter report in open session. Attorney Joe Hughes must have got it out of his system during closed session.
Alex Dominguez gave the legislative report by phone saying AB 2201 passed through senate appropriations. The bill placing draconian restrictions on drilling new wells was amended in committee but not in a good way. The bill will require an engineering report, but the report no longer has to be a “conclusive” finding but must “indicate” there would be no problem with existing wells or subsidence. GSAs are still required to give an opinion and counties must still post the application for 30-days. It is a shame this bill is still moving forward unaltered any further. It builds barriers where they don’t need to be.
On the federal side there is some language in the so called Inflation Reduction Act that might include some drought relief. Haugen added there could also be some federal funds for the Airborne Snow Survey. KRWA will speak with the Army Corps of Engineers about the Kings River fishery program and that is a meeting that has been out there for a while but is now finally scheduled. A wise, old engineer once told me on average it takes the Army Corps 20-years to complete a project.
Fish & Wildlife
Meadows said there is a monthly river clean up and participation has improved. In September the Army Corps’ National Lands Day will fall on the same day and KRWA will join forces with them. More brochures have been printed about the fishing regulations downstream of the dam. This includes a map and Meadows said copies are available to member agencies if they want to distribute some.
The fisheries management program is at a point of needing to monitor temperatures at this time of the year. There will be a Technical Advisory Committee meeting later this evening. Pine Flat has been drawn down and there are three locations of varying depths to provide cooler water. Fresno ID will most likely be shut off at the end of this month. Haugen said the mid-level gates may not be accessible and this could impact power generation. He said Kings River Conservation District is doing everything it can to keep the power generation going.
The next report was about money and the board agreed to pay its bills. Haugen gave the treasurer’s report and he did such a good job the board approved. Then the meeting adjourned a little before 11:00am.
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KINGS RIVER WATER ASSOCIATION – 4886 E. Jensen Avenue, Fresno, CA 93725 559/237-5567 www.kingsriverwater.org
Water Master – Steve Haugen, Attorney – Joe Hughes