The Triangle T Water District held its Thursday, July 8, 2021, board of directors and GSA meeting remotely on Zoom. The meeting began at 10:04am with Chairman Dirk Vlot calling it to order. Secretary Sarah Woolf started things with a roll call for the GSA meeting first. Roll call proved there was a quorum and during public comment I urged TTWD to continue providing online meetings as well as in person. The minutes were approved.
Brad Samuelson gave a subbasin report touching Prop 68, Inter-basin coordination and the Madera Subbasin demand management programs. The issue of pumping from the shallow and the deeper aquifer is a big topic for this area. Samuelson said the Madera County allocation is a little over two feet of groundwater starting in 2022. There is more to be determined for setting the dairies’ allocations since they have nitrogen management plans to contend with. There was no final word on a land fallowing program for the marginal farmland which will most likely be the first to go. There was no other business nor comments from the board or public and the GSA meeting adjourned at 10:17am.
The WD Meeting
Lucas Avila, President of TTWD chaired this meeting. There were no public comments and the minutes were approved. Manager Chase Hurley reviewed the financial report giving the balance and presenting the board with the bills. The third quarter cash call will happen after this meeting and Hurley said there may be a nice budget statement that will allow for a lower cash call for the fourth quarter. Hurley reported there isn’t any water available for sale out there but there may be more word from the Exchange Contractors later. Clayton Water District owes TTWD $106,000 and Julia Berry was able to report CWD has been able to get its dues together – it is a new district – and will soon pay its debt. Good for them.
CPA and Auditor Ryan Jolley gave the board a verbal report of the written fiscal year 2020 audit. The district is in good shape overall and in Jolley’s professional opinion things are good. The board approved the audit.
Hurley said there isn’t full water report as there hasn’t been any water brought in. He added staff monitors groundwater and the landowners are working hard to address the challenges of the local aquifer. He said he has a pretty good feeling about the possibility of bringing in some water this fall from Ex Con. As for water from Madera ID and Chowchilla WD having stored water in San Luis Reservoir from San Joaquin River Restoration flows. Due to the dry year those flows are not running therefore purchases from MID and CWD are not likely this year.
Hurley also reported on a 2021 mitigation agreement with Ex Con. Things are shaping up for meetings to start so the agreement can be ready by the new year. He said there is a chance this agreement can be turned into a multiyear agreement. Pumping, land fallowing and one or two other things can change but for the most part the previous agreement is a base for further work. Hancock Ag won’t be a part of the new agreement. Only Cross Creek Farms and TTWD will be represented.
Woolf gave a brief pipeline easement update saying they are still waiting on a court date and that could be a couple of more months. But the documentation is ready to go. TTWD will be taking over a siphon pipeline and pumpstation from Cross Creek through condemnation.
Woolf also updated the board on annexing lands into TTWD. She said growers have been providing well information and there is still some data out there but for the lands not posing a problem she recommended starting the annexation. There are 300 acres to the north that can be used for recharge basins and some parcels along the San Joaquin River that don’t use groundwater if I understood, are all being considered. There would also be a larger sphere of influence for Triangle T.
An annexation fee schedule has been developed in 2019 but some of the fees for imported water shouldn’t be charged since there is no water available this year. The board found this reasonable and approved moving forward with the annexation. Woolf added there are a couple of landowners who have decided they don’t wish to be part of the annexation at this time. Hurley said having the sphere of influence expanded will help in the future as much of the work with LAFCo will remain valid for future projects. It sounded like Vlot thanked Woolf and Hurley for putting in all the extra time to get this done. The board approved the annexation and increase in sphere of influence. Vlot abstained from the vote as a piece of his property would be involved in the annexation.
Appropriative Water Rights
Woolf reported the public comment period has closed. NRDC and California Fish & Wildlife had concerns about fish screens. Friant Water Authority has concerns about how this application could impact water rights. As I understand it TTWD wants flood water from the Eastside Bypass. The State Board wants to use this as a reason to open up the San Joaquin River for appropriation. Woolf said TTWD and FWA have attorneys working on this. It could be the State Board doesn’t know what it’s doing or want the applicants to do all the work in figuring out how the SJR is appropriated. The water is flood flows and for some reason the State Boards wants to put the SJR through what is happening with the Kings River in attempts to open up appropriations and the challenges that is causing. It appears TTWD will be able to take flood water in the meantime but won’t get SGMA credit for it.
Woolf also mentioned there will be a July 21st 10:00am Red Top landowners meeting to discuss the GSP. She also told the board Directors Molly Thurman and Vlot are up for reelections in September. They are working with the County to get a reappointment. The agenda called for one closed session item. That was going to be price and terms for water purchases, but it’s a moot point now. That was that at 10:59am.
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Triangle T Water District – http://triangletwaterdistrict.org/
4400 Hays Drive, Chowchilla, CA 93610 There is no staff, email address or phone number listed on the website.
Staff: Sarah Woolf and Chase Hurley
Board – Lucas Avila – President, Dirk Vlot – Vice President, Emmanuel Benjamin, Michael York, Molly Saso
The Triangle T Water District GSA is in the Chowchilla Sub Basin DWR # 5-022.05