The North Kings Groundwater Sustainability Agency board met on Thursday, March 28, 2019 at the Fresno Irrigation District headquarters. We started with a flag salute right after Chairman Jerry Prieto called the meeting to order at 6:00pm. Interim Executive Director Gary Serrato (not sure if that’s his actual title) told the board even though the scheduled NKGSA board meeting in November will fall on Thanksgiving Day he’d like the board to consider just moving that date if possible as the deadline to turn the Groundwater Sustainability Plan at the end of the year may necessitate a meeting.
The Asian Business Institute & Resource Center’s Dao Lor spoke about the need to reach out and educate the farmers of Southeast Asian origin. There is a large Hmong population in the Central Valley and many of them are farmers. It’s a special challenge.
Two representatives from the FOX affiliate, KMPH 26 spoke about their station’s series of televised town hall meetings. They have a May 23rd live town hall focusing on SGMA. It airs at 6pm and will be moderated by Rich Rodriguez, a longtime Fresno television news man. They then asked folks to purchase sponsorships for $5,000 a crack. Prieto let them know the 23rd is also the next NKGSA board meeting. Serrato asked the board to allow him to participate in this effort. He’d like the other GSAs in the Kings River Sub Basin to share the cost of the $5,000 sponsorship. This was an action item to allow Serrato to give it shot. He was authorized to spend up to $5,000 but try to get the other GSAs to kick in the drachmas. Clovis Councilman Jose Flores suggested the working title “Battle for Our Ground Water” might be better called something else and everyone that would be a good idea. When it comes to water inflammatory language must be used judiciously.
Serrato gave the water conditions saying it’s a wet year and all the districts understand now is the time to sink as much water as possible. No Kings River water is making it to the Mendota Pool. Next Provost & Pritchard President Ron Samuelian gave the board an update on the GSP progress. He said all the GSAs in the Kings Sub Basin are making progress on their GSPs. P&P is contracted to provide coordination with most of the GSAs in the sub basin. The draft coordination agreement is being revised and the confined aquifer flows estimate is complete – for now. The coordinated water budget is undergoing calibration/adjustments are continuing. DWR only wants to hear from one GSA per sub basin and that means all the GSAs have to use the same language. The sustainable management criteria is being worked on. The base period water budget is complete; that’s the period of 1997 through 2011. There has to be a forecast for 2040 and even 2070 at some point. Most of the water entities and municipalities want to be responsible for their own water budgets and results. Projects are being identified. Samuelian said if there is a sub basin in the Valley that has the resources to achieve sustainability it’s the Kings Sub Basin and if there is a GSA in the sub basin in the good shape it is the North Kings GSA. Serrato said if you ever want to see folks roll up their sleeves and go to work come to the technical committee.
Lisa Cohn gave the administrative/fiscal committee report. Serrato said he’s been working with Thomas Esqueda at Fresno State University. He’s finding to takes an act of nature almost as great as the creation to get the college to pay a new bill and said it would be best to consider FSU as an interested party and not count on it for any donations/fees/payments.
Brandy Swisher is head of the outreach/communications committee. She asked FID General Manager Bill Stretch to give an update on a growers meeting that FID held and the SGMA outreach. It was pretty good. Swisher said our committee has been working with Lor and FSU on reaching Hmong farmers.
Samuelian again spoke. Our friend and FID engineer Adam Claes had a family tragedy to deal with and Samuelian spoke for him. He said the Kings Basin Integrated Regional Water Management has thrown in an application for $11.5 million for projects located from Bakersfield to Fresno. The Kings Basin chose four projects; the FID Wagner basin and three Fresno Metropolitan Flood Control District stormwater basin and all of these together could recharge more than 6,000 a/f annually. All together they equal $11.5 million in requested grant money. There’s a separate chunk of change for disadvantaged communities.
FID’s hardest working staffer Lynn Rowe reminded the board will have to take training in sexual harassment. Looking over the board I’d say that’s a good idea. I don’t think there’s a man or woman up there who even think about harassing someone. They’re going to need training to learn how.
FID Controller Deann Hailey also takes care of the NKGSA. She gave the board an expense report that was paid and a revised budget. Some of the expected costs have actually gone down.
Serrato addressed the board about the applicants for the permanent Executive Officer. He said there were some very good candidates. The personnel committee will review the candidates and narrow them down to four for further consideration. The meeting then went into closed session.
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ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2019 by Don A. Wright
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