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North Kings GSA January 14, 2022

Bermad irrigationThe North Kings GSA Advisory Committee met on Friday, January 14, 2022 online with the non-Zoom GoToMeetings. When in person the meetings were held at the Clovis City Hall complex and that was great for me since I live just out of town to the east towards the Sierra Nevada foothills. So, it was easy to get to and since it was relatively late in the day for a Friday there was a sense of finishing up the week. There are some very good restaurants and coffee shops in Old Town Clovis to go hang out with the retired class afterwards. So this is usually a fun meeting, at least for me.

The Meeting

Chairman and Clovis PUD Director Scott Redelfs called the meeting to order at 1:30pm, the scheduled start time. NKGSA Executive Director Kassy Chauhan read the canned speech riot act concerning the Sino Cooties and called the roll. There was a quorum and away things went. There were no written comments submitted.

The committee had to pass a resolution stating conditions exist that will require meeting remotely. That was the first thing. Some entities wait until later in the meeting. Seems best to make that determination upfront but this is water in California and the list of what strikes me as counterintuitive happenings is long. There were no public presentations and the minutes were approved.

Financial Reports 

The lovely Lisa Cohen gave the expense reports going clear back to September. Cohen used to work for the City of Clovis and she does acts as treasurer even though she retired from the city, if I understand correctly. Good for her. Also, I just found out Clovis City Manager Luke Serpa has retired as of two weeks ago. He didn’t leave me a forwarding address and that’s too bad because Serpa is an interesting, knowledgeable man and as a bonus pretty cool to hang with. Anyhow, the committee thought Cohen did such a good job her report was approved unanimously.

Kings Subbasin Update

Provost & Pritchard President Ron Samuelian gave the update on what’s happening subbasin-wide. He said the DWR SGMA grant funding will bring in $7.6 million for the Kings Subbasin. He urged everyone to be sure to get on Chauhan’s social media highlighting the amazing amount of recharge the subbasin has been able to instigate so far. Despite what some may have erroneously claimed the GSAs are working hard to get as much water as possible in the ground.Technoflo

Samuelian said well monitoring for the NKGSA is ongoing. He doesn’t expect the NKGSA’s Groundwater Sustainability Plan to pass the DWR review but it is preparing to address the needed shortfalls. He said the review letter will be addressed to the subbasin but is expected to include individual member GSA comments.

Meetings

Chauhan asked the board to confirm the advisory committee continue to meet on the second Friday at 1:30pm. She said the DWR review only has six months to be addressed satisfactorily and she wants to ensure as many committee members can be diligent in attending as the input is needed. She and Redelfs said for the time being it looks like the committee will continue meeting remotely as the Omicron plays out.

Chauhan reminded the board Provost & Pritchard was contracted at $19,000 for surveying services in the GSA’s well monitoring program this past December. That amount is well within the Executive Officers authority and P&P’s a pretty good outfit for this task.

Workgroups

Chauhan said getting policy together has been slowed down a bit but she still needs data on pumping and recharge and such from member agencies and businesses. This is year three of the SGMA implementation and the five year plan update starts next year. Implementing mitigation has started and needs to continue in order to show a 10 percent reduction in overdraft by year five. This is very important. The GSAs need to show the progress they’ve made. No one wants the state stepping in.

Redelfs said everyone recognizes the mitigation efforts need to continue whether or not the policy is enacted sooner or later. He said the issues between the cities of Fresno and Clovis are being worked out in the pace of a city government timeline. Each member has a share of the overdraft it must address by mitigation and reduction. He said if anyone doesn’t agree their share is fair despite the P&P study findings they can work that out but they must continue working to reach the 10 percent reduction in the first five year. Redelfs said it all.

Fresno Irrigation District’s Assistant Manager Adam Claes gave a water update reminding the committee although December storms were wonderful January is usually the best month of the year for precipitation but so far not so good. He said a high pressure system has parked off the coast of North of America preventing storms moving in and driving up temperatures. He said in the temperatures in the lower elevations of the Sierra snowpack has the lows now reading what the highs were just two weeks ago. Claes is estimating a 50 percent of normal year but it could get wet before it’s all over. Someone said the US Bureau of Reclamation has nothing coming in for up to 60 days. Of course that’s a long way out.

The representative of the City of Fresno – apologies I don’t recall his name Dion Pavich?, but he’s a good guy – announced the city’s PUD director Michael Carbajal has left the city to go to work for Consolidated ID in Selma. Good for Carbajal maybe. CID General Manager Phil Desatoff ought be good for another 20-years but maybe he’s getting ready to go fishing. No replacement has yet been announced.

Executive Officers Report

Chauhan began with recounting the highlights of 2021. She said there are new board members on the GSA board. New and positive policies have been set and the monitoring network is making really good progress. There are some wells that need to be replaced and that is being worked out.

The agency mitigation policy, assigning blame or responsibility for a member’s share of the overdraft is one way to put it, has been ongoing since 2020 and is still ongoing but progress is being made. She said there has been bad publicity about the GSAs not doing enough and she is working hard to explain the progress being made.

Chauhan said she’s reviewed more well permit applicants and planning documents lately than she had back in her drinking days. Actually she said drinking water days because she used to work for the state dealing with drinking water. Three new recharge basin have started and some additional ones completed.

Chauhan said she’s working with the Kings River Conservation District to solicit public comments on the DWR review. KRCD has a very good outreach team and should prove a good choice. She said Madera ID is suing the Madera GSA, which is administered by Madera County over who is recharging how much and who is pumping how much and subsurface flows are a big part of the question all GSAs have. NKGSA believes its groundwater is drifting into the McMullin Area GSA and studies are ongoing to determine boundaries and amounts.

A comment letter from the State Board about five GSAs in the Kings Subbasin with concerns on coordination efforts has been received. The question of which of these comments might make the DWR review is a little confusing since some of the comments have nothing to do with SGMA.

Next Chauhan reported on outreach saying some of the outreach materials have been translated into Punjabi since there is a sizable portion of NKGSA folks who speaks Punjabi. Good for them. She also toured Ball Ranch to look at the on farm recharge efforts. And Fresno State’s Craig School of Business invited Chauhan to speak on SGMA 101. She said it felt like mostly realtors in the audience and they weren’t well educated on what a private domestic well entails for their clients.

Finally the City of Fresno needs to name an alternate director so he or she can be sworn in  before the board meeting at the end of the month. She said the technical work group will be reconvened to address the GSP and the first meeting is tentatively scheduled for February 4th. She said the technical committee and the advisory committee will review these matters and take them to the board.

With that Redelfs invited folks to move for adjournment at 2:36pm and all in favor stood up and left the building remotely. The next meeting will be February 11th.

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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

 

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