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Madera Irrigation District Board of Directors December 19, 2023

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By Joel Hastings

The Madera Irrigation District board of directors held its regular monthly meeting on December 19, 2023, at the district offices on the south side of Madera. The board adopted an annual budget calling for expenditures of $27,889,000, saw the average depth to groundwater decrease to 201.35 feet and accepted fiduciary reports on the employee retirement funds.Lidco Inc.

President Jim Erickson called the open meeting to order shortly after 2 p.m. After the Pledge, public comment was heard Director Carl Janzen commented briefly on the passing of the late Senator Diane Feinstein noting her support for California water organizations. He also expressed appreciation for the work of David Reynolds who was retiring from ACWA.


Convening as the board of the MID GSA, the board heard from Assistant Manager Dina Nolan that it had received recognition from NRCS as an outstanding partner in the groundwater pilot program. A grant of $900,000 has been received through NRCS to be used for pipe replacement in the District.Brandt Water Treatment

Also, a grant has been awarded allowing the board to access facilitation services from the state to find common ground among the GSAs in support of the GSP for the Madera Basin. The facilitator has begun his work meeting separately with each of the participating organizations. Nolan said that no report on the plan has been received from DWR. (Editor’s note: At the State Water Resources Control Board meeting held earlier in the day, it was noted that a report from DWR on the adequacy of the Madera Subbasin GSP was expected shortly.)

It was noted that while rare in December, water in District canals is still flowing and is available to District growers for recharge at $10 / AF. For the first time in many years, water has been delivered for a full 365 days.

The MID Meeting

Reconvening as the MID board at 2:25 p.m., the board reelected Jim Erickson as president and Carl Janzen as vice president. Membership of directors on its committees and outside boards was accepted as had been approved last February. Notable is Erickson on the board of the Friant Water Authority where he currently serves as chair. Janzen serves on the Friant Power Authority and Director Brian Davis is director for ACWA Region 8.

The consent agenda was approved including minutes of meetings held September 20, October 17 and October 24. Also included was the warrant list of payments through December 7 which totaled $2,764,385.14.Technoflo


Charles Contreras, operations and maintenance manager, presented his monthly report which appears on six pages of the board packet. He noted staff training as required on safety and sexual harassment, the receipt of the grant for pipeline work and the ongoing mapping done to track district infrastructure. Turnout repairs included replacement of one destroyed by an automobile collision. He said MID invoices persons responsible for damaging district property. He said the graders, slopers and mowers were hard at work and a number of safety ladders had been installed. Erickson thanked him and his staff for their continuing excellent work.
In her report, Controller Jennifer Furstenburg said that the big lift had been final preparation of the annual budget to be considered and that she had completed a leadership training program offered by ACWA.

GM & Groundwater

General Manager Tom Greci reported that Furstenburg’s program had been a year long with four in-person training sessions and monthly virtual meetings. She said that what she had learned about herself and other personality types had improved her ability to understand and communicate with her staff and colleagues. Greci noted that she gained new skills for appropriate delegation when she was away from the office. Nolan also complimented her for participation in the training and displayed the certificate that Furstenburg had been awarded.

Greci continued saying that the schedule for meetings in January and February would be confirmed soon. Regarding water, he confirmed that water had been running for 365 days and the plan was to shut down at the end of the week to provide a break for the staff and to maximize carry over. He said water is now going into Madera Lake and it has been “a great, great year.”

Nolan presented the report of the semiannual well run average depth to groundwater chart on the CASGEM Plan (California State Groundwater Elevation Monitoring). The group expressed pleasure that that the fall figures were rising from 209.24 in 2021 through 207.29 in 2022 and now 201.35 in October of this year. And for the first time, the fall numbers were higher than the spring figures with a desirable upward trend line.


At 2:45 p.m., the board conducted its annual fiduciary review with Bryan Griffith, a representative of the Cornerstone Advisory Group in Fresno which manages the 401k, 401a and 457 plans for employee retirement funds. The board oversees the total plan assets of $5.25 million and accepted a number of technical changes in the investment programs.

The final item of new business was the presentation, discussion and acceptance of the annual district budget. Controller Furstenburg began saying the proposed budget expenditure totals about $27,889,000 and includes water costs of $10,000,000 or 36 percent. The operating expenses excluding water total $17,889,000.

Salaries and benefits comprise 22 percent or $6,200,000. The assumptions used are a COLA based on CPI of 3.5 percent, overtime of $50,000 and merit increases of $160,889. Capital expenditures and improvements are included for $2,603,000 or nine percent.

Assumptions on water costs include 100 percent of Class 1 or 85,000 AF, no Class 2 supply, 24,000 AF for Hidden Dam with 40,000 AF available for supply, 7,400 AF of pre-1914 water from Soquel, 8,500 AF of 2023 Class 1 water rescheduled for 2024 and an additional $1,000,000 for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation operation and maintenance charges.

Debt service charges are calculated at $2,553,000 for the 2015 bond and $1,676,000 for the 2016 bond.

For income, water rates the same as this current year are used in the projections.

It was agreed by all that the District is in the same business next year, but no one really knows how much water will be available and at what price from the Bureau… as it is every year.

Contreras then presented the proposal for equipment purchases included in the capital budget plan for a number of pickup trucks, larger flatbed trucks, a new Grade-all excavator, electrical panels, meters, survey equipment and a large format printer.

During discussion, the consensus was, the staff is performing well. They should be compensated fairly and provided with the tools required to do their work. The budget was approved unanimously.

Directors Report

Reports from directors comprise the final item on the agenda. Director Tim DaSilva said he had attended the most recent meeting of the San Joaquin Resource Management Coalition in Los Banos. Director Davis said at the energy committee session he attended at the fall ACWA meeting had been focused on battery and electrical storage technologies, not so much power generation from solar or water. Janzen said at ACWA he heard presentations on cyber security and details about the Colorado River. Director Dave Loquaci said it has been a great year with lots of water in the District, with staff and growers all doing good work. President Erickson concluded saying the Friant Water Authority annual meeting will be held in Madera this coming year.

The meeting concluded at 4:10 p.m. with the board returning to closed session. Its first session had been conducted from 1 p.m. until the open meeting with no reportable action. The agenda lists seven items of existing litigation and two of anticipated litigation along with an employee evaluation of the board secretary/executive assistant.

(Editor’s note: On Dec. 21, the Department of Water Resources announced that the GSPs for the Madera Subbasin had been approved. The release appears below.)

The Department of Water Resources (DWR or Department) announced today that it has approved the resubmitted Groundwater Sustainability Plans (Plans or GSPs) for the Madera Subbasin. Upon evaluation, Department staff concluded that sufficient action was taken to correct deficiencies; however, Department staff have provided recommended corrective actions which will be required to be addressed by the Plans’ next periodic evaluation.

On March 21, 2023, multiple Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) resubmitted multiple Plans covering the entire Madera Subbasin to DWR in response to the Department’s initial incomplete determination on September 22, 2022. In total, four GSPs were revised, and resubmitted by seven GSAs and are coordinated pursuant to a required coordination agreement.

Collectively, all GSPs and the Coordination Agreement are, for evaluation and assessment purposes, treated and referred to as the Plan for the Subbasin. Individually, the GSPs include the following:

  • Gravelly Ford Water District Groundwater Sustainability Plan prepared by the Gravelly Ford Water District GSA.
  • Joint Groundwater Sustainability Plan prepared by the City of Madera GSA, Madera County GSA, Madera Irrigation District GSA, and Madera Water District GSA.
  • New Stone Water District Groundwater Sustainability Agency Groundwater Sustainability Plan prepared by the New Stone Water District GSA.
  • Root Creek Water District Groundwater Sustainability Agency Groundwater Sustainability Plan prepared by the Root Creek Water District GSA.

DWR evaluates whether a Plan conforms to the statutory requirements of SGMA and is likely to achieve the basin’s sustainability goal, whether evaluating a basin’s first Plan, a Plan previously determined incomplete, an amended Plan, or a GSA’s periodic evaluation to an approved Plan.

The Madera Subbasin Plans and all associated documents, including DWR’s Staff Report, can be found on DWR’s SGMA Portal.

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Madera Irrigation District – 12152 Road 28 ¼ Madera, CA 93637  Phone 559/673-3514

Staff: General Manager -Thomas Greci, Assistant GM – Dina Nolan

Board: Jim Erickson, Chair; Tim DaSilva, Brian Davis, Carl Janzen and Dave Loquaci

HISTORY: From The Madera Irrigation District (MID or District) encompasses an area of approximately 139,665 acres. MID operates a primarily gravity irrigation distribution system with approximately 300 miles of open flow canal systems as well as 150 miles of large diameter pipelines

The District has a Central Valley Project (CVP) repayment contract with United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) providing up to 85,000 acre feet (AF) of Class 1 and 186,000 AF of Class 2 water per year from the Friant Division (Millerton Lake). The CVP water is released from Millerton Lake through the Friant Dam, and then conveyed through the Madera Canal for delivery into the District’s service area. The District also entered into a CVP repayment contract with the USBR for the yield from the Hidden Unit (Hensley Lake). Under the Hidden Unit contract, the average annual supply available to the District is approximately 24,000 AF per year.

DWR SGMA # 5-022.06