The South Fork Kings River GSA held two meetings on Thursday, June 21, 2018 at the Lemoore City Counsel chambers. There was a Prop 218 election and a regular board meeting. While I was waiting for the show to begin and my computer to warm up I noticed the photo on the screen. The pictures rotate from beautiful sunsets, to tropical islands and snowy mountains. Always majestic landscapes. Today’s photo was a deep blue lake in the green, clean alps of Europe. Only it wasn’t a lake it was a reservoir. The focal point of the photo was a curving, cement dam. The Microsoft provided caption said people come from all over to enjoy the human created beauty of the graceful dam. So, when they build water storage, flood control and recreation in Europe it’s “human created beauty.” When we try to do the same thing in California it’s my panties are on fire panic time because it’s, well, just awful in so many ways.
I’m not picking on Europe, I’ve never had the pleasure of visiting. However, I’ve observed many people here in the USA who look to Europe as a superior culture. Facebook videos showing American’s eating fried bacon and eggs while Europeans eat yogurt and fruit for breakfast as if that is inherently more civilized and refined. They leave out the part where European countries failure to get along caused two world wars in less than 50-years. Also, as an American I can choose to eat eggs and yogurt or bacon and fruit because of we have efficient farms that produce the highest quality food on earth, right here in California.
The public hearing for the SFKGSA 218 Election was kicked off by Chairman Joe Neves, Kings County Supervisor. We saluted the flag and Neves had Eric Osterling of Kings River Conservation District (yes it’s all too true he’s leaving but at least he’s not going any further than Farmersville to the Greater Kaweah GSA.)
The room was at least two/thirds full and overwhelmingly senior citizens. Osterling explained the reason for the election is to fund the GSA’s needs. The assessment is $9.80 per acre per year. A quarter acre home site would pay $2.45 per year. A small 40 acre farm would pay $392 per year. The state has determined the same situation if it takes over; the house hold would pay $60.09 the small farmer would pay $7,450 and the chances of having their pumping curtailed is very great. The actual budget impacts of the 218 will last over five years: 2019-2023. It starts out higher at $698,000 the first year and drops off to $445,000 the last year.
There were questions from the public: will the GSAs fee decrease as the budget warrants and the answer is yes. Another question was when the fee will begin and the answer is December will be the first due date but the payments are in two parts. Someone asked what the benefit will be to pass the 218 and Osterling said it will be much cheaper to solve this locally than should the state step in. Another benefit is preventing subsidence and other undesirable results. Would the GSA imped selling land and the answer is, no. The folks who wanted to vote did so and the hearing adjourned.
The regular board meeting began at 6:10 pm and the minutes were approved. There were no director reports and Osterling said from folks from the government of Denmark came over to tell us the best way to monitor groundwater in the area is a device made in Denmark. (I did not know there would be any Europeans mentioned when I wrote the intro.) Osterling said he believes the Sky Temp giant flying magnet hanging from a helicopter is a better approach. It will let you know Mike Young, the Australian pitching a water marketing plan will be visiting again in July. Osterling mentioned Charlotte Gallock is new to KRDC. I understand she comes from Westlands Water District and has is highly qualified.
Randy Shilling reported on the finances of the GSA saying if the 218 passes the first funds will arrive in January. He’s done some math to help guide the board in keeping the wheels turning in the meantime. Cristal Tufenkjian gave the outreach update and her website, or I should say, the GSA’s website is getting hits and the board was very pleased with her, as it should be.
We then came to the portion of the show where we waited for the votes to be tabulated. This “dead air” lent itself to a question and answer session. Some of the dialog was rambling and uninformed so they asked me to stop talking. Other people asked if the GSA will meter wells and Engineer Amir Hussein said it is being looked at and will be considered. I threw him a soft ball and asked if there is any estimated safe yield and he wisely told me that has yet to be determined. Come to find out my old friend Bill Pipes and engineer with AMEC has his hand in the GSP. I believe that is good news for the folks in this area.
Empire West Side ID’s representative Director Ceil Howe Jr. addressed the idea of what would happen if the 218 fails tonight. He said he’d quit the board. Howe said he sees a lot of people here this evening. Usually there are only four or five members of the public present so he interpreted the turnout to indicate no votes. He said just because the GSA is asking for $9 per acre that doesn’t mean it has to spend it all, but if it needs $6 and has only raised $5 they’re lost. There was a question about if this vote fails will the other GSAs in the are fail as well because SFKGSA can’t haul its own weight. It sounded like that was a possibility.
Chairman Neves announced at 6:40 pm the vote count won’t be ready for another hour so the meeting took a recess. After a wait of an hour the results were counted. There were 413 ballots cast. Because enough yes votes outnumber the no votes the board was able to pass two resolutions certifying the 218 election. There was a collective sigh of relief; evidently the no voters didn’t wait it out. This triggered two resolutions; one to certify the no votes and another one to establish the assessment rate. Congratulations to the KRCD staff. They worked very hard on this. They got 74 percent of the votes to vote yes.
The next meeting will be July 19th and will include a workshop going through the model and the key SGMA points. Oh boy. Osterling said good bye by telling us he’s moving on to the GM position at the Greater Kaweah GSA and he is replaced by Charlotte. It’s official. The meeting then adjourned.
DISCLAIMER OF RESPONSIBILITY; Don A. Wright strives to provide his clients with the most complete, up-to-date, and accurate information available. Nevertheless, DAW does not serve as a guarantor of the accuracy or completeness of the information provided, and specifically disclaims any and all responsibility for information that is not accurate, up-to-date, or complete. DAW’s clients therefore rely on the accuracy, completeness and timeliness of information from DAW entirely at their own risk. The opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not represent any advertisers or third parties.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2018 by Don A. Wright No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of DAW.
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.
SOUTH FORK KINGS RIVER GSA – City of Lemoore, Kings County, Empire West Side ID, Stratford ID and Stratford PUD
KRCD helps out and Kenneth Richardson attorney.