The Semitropic Water Storage District board of directors held its Wednesday, February 8, 2023 meeting at its Wasco headquarters and online. Before the meeting the good folks at Semitropic fed us barbeque chicken and beef with sides. Former SWSD General Manager Wil Boschman was always proud of the lunches served and they are amongst the best. Also, just for fun a big chocolate colored dog named Moose made its happy, waggy way through the boardroom just as Chairman Dan Waterhouse called the meeting to order at 12:31pm.
As if being greeted by a good dog wasn’t enough we started by communally saluting our flag, as it should be at any government gathering. Waterhouse introduced the guests in the room, which wasn’t nearly as crowded as it has been in the past.
The agenda and treasurer’s report were approved. Bobby Salinas presented the board with the bills and like good farmers they looked them over with a fine toothed hearing aide and approved payments.
Engineer Isela Medina told the board GEI Engineering wants a task order approved on the Poso Creek Integrated Regional Water Management. The board agreed.
Sandridge Farms has requested moving part of its water supply delivery from one turnout to a different turnout. General Manager Jason Gianquinto said it wasn’t much water and the turnouts were close but on two different canal systems. The board agreed. The water didn’t leave the district and this is a standard consideration for Semitropic.
Gianquinto gave the Semitropic WSD GSA report saying the draft 2022 land use and evapotranspiration table was ready for review. It broke down the amount of acreage by crop type and the ET associated with it. The next step Gianquinto said, was to compare these figures with parcels. Overall, the water use goals are being achieved. There is a little less than 40,000 acres of land considered undeveloped and waste/miscellaneous land out of 222,579 acres in Semitropic. This is mostly desert like. There is no irrigated pasture or marijuana grown in the district.
Rick Amee of WM Lyles gave his report saying he wouldn’t take long as he didn’t want to slow down the meeting. Amee reported on a water treatment facility Lyles is managing and said he expects some above ground pipe will need to be replaced due to corrosion. He also said the ditches and ponds related to the project need to be cleaned out when the water levels go down this summer. He said the recent rains have slowed down construction of other projects he’s dealing with.
Larry Rodriguez of GEI Engineers gave his report saying the report is in the board packet but he did want to make note of the Poso Pump spreading ground and the groundwater model has been undergoing updates and will soon be ready.
Dean Florez gave his report saying how good the recent tour and meeting with Antonio Villaraigosa was for establishing contacts within the Newsom administration. He said now that folks in Los Angeles realize so far this year there has been enough water through the Delta sent to the ocean to provide them with a decades worth of supply he hopes to see some better state awareness of what harm they are doing in Sacramento. Not his exact words.
Greg Allen of Red-trac reported all is well and getting better. The board almost applauded in honor or his brevity.
Gianquinto reported on there has been good news in rain and snow. However, the bank is in a bit of limbo while folks figure out what to do with the 30 percent State Water Project allocation. SWP contractors are concerned about diminished carryover in San Luis Reservoir and may want to move that water to the bank.
He said the meeting with Villaraigosa was good and thanked everyone for their help in setting that up. The GSPs decisions should be coming back from DWR soon. It’s still wait and see.
Medina said the bad news is energy, both electric and natural gas prices are going through the roof. Electricity has gone up 36 percent and gas increases add about $400 per acre foot pumping costs. She will have better updates next month.
There is a problem with how Article 21 Water is administered. When DWR offers it you have to take it. Gianquinto said there will be a lot of folks who have never moved water for recharge before this year and that might cause some confusion and possibly even lost opportunities. Waterhouse said growers are ready for fresher water and ready to over irrigate as much as they can. The Kern River watershed is at 160 percent of the April 1st average. There is chance of getting much of this water through the Kern County Water Agency or interties with Buena Vista WSD. Gianquinto said staff has much more fun recharging than not. I think I heard him tell Director Jon Reiter Semitropic can recharge up to 350,000 a/f per year.
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SEMITROPIC WATER STORAGE DISTRICT
1101 Central Avenue, Wasco, CA 93280-0877 • 661-758-5113 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Board: Dan Waterhouse – President, Rick Wegis – Vice President, Tom Toretta – Treasurer, Todd Tracy – Secretary, Philip W. Portwood, Jeff Fabbri, Tim Thomson
Staff: Jason Gianquinto-General Manager, Bobby Salinas–District Controller, Isela Medina–District Engineer, Executive Secretary-Marsha Payne, Consultant-Will Boschman, Superintendent-John Lynch & Attorney
About: Semitropic Water Storage District is one of eight water storage districts in California and is the largest in Kern County. The District delivers water to nearly 300 customers for the irrigation of approximately 140,000 acres for agricultural uses. Semitropic also supplies energy to a variety of users and provides groundwater banking and storage services. Established in 1958, Semitropic Water Storage District covers an area of more than 220,000 acres. It began as an irrigation district for the purpose of securing State Water Project supplies to reduce groundwater overdraft. From www.semitropic.com
Semitropic Water Storage District GSA DWR #5-022.14