The North Kings GSA held its board of directors meeting on Thursday, December 17, 2020 remotely from the Fresno Irrigation District headquarters. The meeting was on GoToMeetings and started right at 6:00pm. Chairman Jerry Prieto called the meeting and Executive Officer Kassy Chauhan called the roll. The meeting attendance was good with happy, well-adjusted types making up the majority of those participating. GoToMeetings, at least the version NKGSA and Fresno ID uses don’t have a written comment option and that’s a shame for those who are too shy to speak on the phone. There were no public comments or conflicts of interest. Agenda item I, a resolution to apply for Prop 68 grant funds was pulled from the agenda. Prieto said Fresno ID will be the lead agency since DWR was having a problem. The minutes were approved.
Chauhan informed the board Steve Pickens of Bakeman Water Company is now in the shared Seat Number Three. There is also a vacancy for Seat Number Seven and an interested party is eligible. This is an at large seat and there are many organizations from Cargill Beef to Fresno State University that could put forth an eligible director. Nominations were open and attorney Kevin Dale was listening to help make sure the process is conducted in accordance to policy and law. Dale read from the JPA by laws saying a non-elected official may serve. Director Brian Pacheco moved to leave the vacancy open to allow the interested parties more time to respond. It passed and the deadline was moved to the January 2021 meeting. Director Jose Florez said Malaga WD’s Moses Ortiz should be considered. Prieto told him to make a nomination at the next meeting. Pacheco said he has no issue with Ortiz but would like to allow more applicants if anyone else wants to come forward. Prieto said the Biola Community Service District’s GM is interested. The board directed Chauhan to post this on the website and solicit applications. The vote was to wait until next month. That vote will have to take place next month least it violates the 90-day maximum vacancy rule. That shot the next item down, swearing in the new director.
Chauhan said Provost & Pritchard’s Ron Samuelian wasn’t available to give the Kings Subbasin Coordination report. There will be a Subbasin Coordination meeting before the end of the year. Fall data collection is wrapping up and outreach is ongoing.
Fresno ID Engineer Adam Claes gave the water report saying the new water year has started and it has been very dry so far. This is tracking as one of the driest years in recent history for this time of year. Claes showed maps with January 2021 predictions to temperature and precipitation. Slightly warmer weather and under average rainfall is expected.
Scott Redelfs, Chair of the NKGSA Advisory Committee gave his report saying the financial statements should be approved. The Kings Subbasin Coordination Committee representatives need an update and his committee recommends Chauhan and FID GM Bill Stretch as the alternate member. The board liked that and passed it. Good for them.
The next items were information and workgroup updates. Chauhan said the current status of the well policy workgroup is in the board packet. There have been individual agency meetings and the draft policy has been updated since last Friday’s Advisory Committee meeting. You can see that report from December 11th here: https://waterwrights.net/2020/12/11/north-kings-groundwater-sustainability-agency-advisory-committee-december-11-2020/
The Advisory Committee will rework the policy in coordination with the workgroup and then bring it to the board. That will push back the effective date for new policies until late in February 2021. Prieto thanked Chauhan and the workgroup for their efforts. Pacheco is also a Fresno County Supervisor and he was happy to see the rewrite as was Pickens. Both of the agencies they represent had reservations on the original language.
Next FID’s controller DeAnn Hailey gave the financial report. She said the cash on hand is more than $1 million. The accounts receivable has only Prop One funds – waiting on the state to pay up. The board approved Hailey’s reports.
Chauhan gave her report saying the application for the Prop 68 grant that was pulled from the agenda was due to the strings attached, strings of red tape. NKGSA would have had to get involved with all the member entities’ requirements for water management plans and many other things. It would have been unwieldy. Samuelian suggested FID be the lead agency since it doesn’t have member agencies and would only have to monitor and manage its own paperwork. That was a creative move and seems to be working out well. It reminds me of something I read today. Elon Musk moved Tesla to Austin Texas and was able to get all his plans for a new factory approved in less than six weeks. Chauhan also said dividing the responsibility for overdraft between the seven GSAs in the Kings Subbasin is on target.
The Kings River Conservation District has put together a pamphlet to give to domestic well owners about SGMA. There has also been outreach with Self Help Enterprises to the Hmong farming community.
There is now the San Joaquin Valley Water Collaborative Coalition borne from the large meeting that took place in Stanford University thanks to the San Joaquin Valley Water Blueprint. This is a big step forward with diverse representation from just about every group. Caucuses have formed and a facilitator will be hired. They met earlier today.
Chauhan also said the well monitoring system is coming along. There was an electromagnetic towed array flying around behind a helicopter recently. The purpose was to map underground conditions for water banks.
There is a boundary flow study proposal Chauhan is reviewing. The DWR Technical Advisory Committee for California Well Standards has ramped up and Chauhan is one of the members. She urged everyone to keep an eye and comment on that process. She summed up saying she is working on the 2021 priority plan and will present that next month.
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SGMA The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 calls for the formation of Groundwater Sustainability Areas within Basins and Sub-basins to develop Groundwater Sustainability Plans.
MEMBERS: Bakman Water Company, Cities of Kerman, Fresno and Clovis, Fresno County, Fresno Metropolitan Flood Control District, Garfield Water District and Fresno ID
Executive Director – Kassy Chauhan
DWR # Listing: Basin San Joaquin, Sub Basin Kings 5-022.08