The Kings River Water District board of directors met on Thursday, March 22, 2018 at its space in Centerville. It was raining hard and had been all night long. Chairman Jack Paxton called the meeting at 8:00 am and the minutes were approved. General Manager Nick Keller had an addition to the KRWD agenda under old business and there was no conflict of interest identified. So, with all the housekeeping cleared up Keller presented the treasurer’s report. There was nothing out of the ordinary that I heard. There is some problem with the tax rolls and Keller said things should get better now that Cal Trans has finished dividing parcels and exercising eminent domain. The board approved the report.
The proverbial Form 700 unleashed a stream of less than positive criticism against the County of Fresno’s handling of email correspondence. Apparently some of the board members have submitted their forms electronically but have had to do so many times over resulting in confusion. This lead to a general consensus that the parking situation in downtown Fresno near the county offices is a parking ticket trap.
Superintendent Mike Sullivan gave his report and said all the ditches are running now. The High Way 180 culvert at China Slough has not been cleaned. Keller said Cal Trans agreed to clean it out after the work they did. Sullivan said if there gets to be 20 cfs down that channel and 180 will have flooding and overflow. Keller’s going to give Cal Trans a call after this meeting. There are other places in the district’s system with silt and plant growth that needs to be addressed for better flows. Some of the landowners have not maintained their section of the ditches and that is causing blockage downstream.
Paxton reported the State Supreme Court have ruled the State Board’s charges of water rights fees. The State Board used to be partially funded by the General Fund but is now funded by fees. The Kings River Water Association pays close to $500,000 annually and it costs the State Board almost nothing to administer anything connected with the Kings River. Also, KRWA owned some land in Columbia Canal Company and sold the land to the US Bureau of Reclamation for San Joaquin River restoration but the shares of CCC went back to CCC. So that was good. Paxton reported on the NASA snow survey. This was new to the KRWD board but Keller knew about it. It costs $110,000 per flight on the San Joaquin River shed. It was within 2, 000 a/f accurate of the actual runoff. KRWA is interested in engaging the same program and that will be costly but the estimate of runoff on the Kings River was 250,000 a/f off. So, it could pay for itself and NASA is looking to dedicate a satellite to do the same thing in the future. KRWA wants to spend money on hiring more employees. That didn’t set well with the board. Whenever the KRWA raises its costs it costs KRWD. The new KRWA budget is $3.36 million. He said Fresno Irrigation District shares their concerns. The Irritated Lands Program has added heavy metals to the drinking water standard for farmers. It’s all about the state trying to get private enterprise to pay for the drinking water clean up for the disadvantaged communities. It sounds like the proposed fertilizer tax may have troubles as well. Very little fertilizer is produced in the US and due to the bomb threat some of it is difficult to obtain. There could be a problem looming similar to the cigarette tax.
Keller said he received a letter from David Steward at Reedley Irrigation about a culvert it installed for a landowner in KRWD. For some reason Reedley Irrigation thinks the district can help collect and of course the district doesn’t want to touch it with a 10-foot pole. It didn’t seem to make sense to anyone. The landowner and the company have a contract that doesn’t involve KRWD. Oh well.
In old business it was reported there was no Kings River East GSA meeting this month. There will be a meeting between the seven GSAs in the sub basin to talk about underlying boundary issues with historic groundwater movement. Areas to the west might be receiving a natural underground flow that wasn’t know before. There is an estimated 210,000 a/f overdraft in the sub basin and it has to be decided who gets how much of that amount. Keller said the North Kings GSA has a great built in advantage because the City of Fresno has not been on surface water before, only wells. The introduction of treated surface water will be a boost for that GSA’s water balance. Keller said the NKGSA is in pretty good shape. He said Metropolitan WD will build the Delta tunnel and if someone like Westlands WD didn’t get on board it would loose out in the long run. He said once the one tunnel is built, as long as it provides Southern California with enough water, there won’t be another tunnel built.
On the Highway 180 project has a 500 feet box culvert with a cobble bottom that has to be slurry sealed. The new route of 180 will run over the top of this. It turns out to my surprise a box culvert, if built correctly, is stronger than a pipe. In other old business, if I understood correctly, there is an area in the district known as the Wild Wood – I believe it is a trailer park – that contracted with KRWD to provide water. It now doesn’t want to pay for water. That won’t work. Attorney Lauren Layne is looking into this and the board opted to wait to hear from her before going further with this matter. The last item before closed session was additions to the employee handbook. Someone asked Keller if he was able to get himself lifetime employment included. I think he answered no but the provision that directors have to serve for life was included. And that was that.
DISCLAIMER OF RESPONSIBILITY; Don A. Wright strives to provide his clients with the most complete, up-to-date, and accurate information available. Nevertheless, DAW 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. DAW’s clients therefore rely on the accuracy, completeness and timeliness of information from DAW 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.
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.
Kings River Water District
The Kings River Water District meets at 8:00am on the third Thursday of the month at the Gerawan Farms Offices on Smith Avenue in Centerville California. KRWD is a member of the East Kings GSA and receives supplies from the Kings River. President Jack Paxton, Curtis Taylor, Danny Van Ruiten, Steve Boos & Mike Hacker.
General Manager/Engineer Nick Keller, Attorney Loraine Layne, Superintendent Mike Sullivan, Ditch Tender Ken Domoto. KRWD has about 19,000 acres of tree fruit, grapes and nuts along the Kings River bottom land on the east side of the San Joaquin Valley.