The Triangle T Water District held its board of directors meeting on Thursday, March 11, 2021. The meeting began at 10:00am on Zoom with the TTWD GSA reports. The minutes were approved. Sarah Woolf and Chase Hurley are the staff working for the district.
Brad Samuelson gave a report saying the Chowchilla Subbasin was selected for a Prop 68 grant for a couple of recharge basin projects and pipelines connecting the East Side Bypass to these locations. Jeanie Habben of Madera County said one of the challenges with State grants is getting the money actually delivered. There can be months of wait time between the time the grant is awarded and the contract finalized. Chris Montoya, DWR said it is his agency’s desire to get these grants into the system as quick as they can. There are concerns about work scheduling with weather and species nesting and other matters.
Hurley said there are meetings with Stantec Engineering as the facilitator to discuss subsidence with the Madera/Chowchilla/San Luis Delta Mendota Subbasins and DWR to coordinate matters. Hurley also said the second annual SGMA report is due this April and he’s reviewed it. There are wells and there are monitoring wells. Monitoring wells are easier to extract data from but the other GSAs in the subbasin are concerned about substituting or adding more monitoring wells to the GSP at this time due to fears DWR’s evaluation of the GSP could be negatively impacted. Hurley is working with the other GSAs and their consulting engineers to see if some changes could be made everyone is happy with.
Public comment was the first item on the TTWD board meeting and I didn’t hear anyone speak up. The minutes were approved and Hurley went over the budget, financial items and paying the bills. All were approved. It is interesting to hear about this district’s operations and management direction. Triangle T is a very young district in California water history. It’s like watching an island form from a volcanic eruption. One of the tell tale signs is the number of lawsuits in closed session. Some of the older entities have more than a score of lawsuits to deal with. This district has none listed on its agenda. Another feature of a district meeting that seems to grow with age is the number of items on the agenda. As a district grows it usually acquires more staff and employees. That gives birth to human resources issues and more complicated financial matters and the formation of departments that need to give reports.
Next Hurley gave the water operations report saying there wasn’t much to report on. The district has a $1.2 million budget to purchase water but that hasn’t happened yet. He noted the Exchange Contractors have a critical year allocation that limits the amount of water that can be transferred. He is talking with Ex Con and he and Woolf are in constant communication with other sources. The west side CVP’s low five percent allocation has really tightened up the water market. Plenty of room in San Luis Reservoir for storage. Hurley, like all of us are hoping for more storms to come through. Woolf said yesterday’s Chowchilla Water District board meeting had discussions about selling water but there was no definitive decision made.
Hurley said the recharge basin percolation tests have been completed. He said the levees will be removed after the next harvest and that sounded like a good milestone.
A big part of needing perc tests is Triangle T was a cattle ranch and the land was untilled. It has only been in the past decade or so permanent crops were planted. There wasn’t any surface supply available and one of the new, institutional growers pumped the heck out of the local aquifer causing subsidence. That put the onus on everyone in the area to find ways of importing surface water supplies before any more harm is done to the aquifer. That goes back to my earlier comment about watching a district like an island being formed. Never underestimate farmers. If there’s a solution, they will find it.
Woolf reported the siphon pipeline easement and the annexation proposal are moving forward. She asked those landowners interested in being annexed into the district please get their well data information together and ready to submit so things will go much smoother when the time comes.
There is a five year agreement between landowners in the area that resulted in TTWD being formed. This agreement has yielded some good benefits to the signatories. Hurley met with them and some other landowners in the Red Top area and the goal is to arrive at a new15-year agreement that includes more willing participants.
The one item for closed session dealt with purchasing water and since that opportunity has yet to come to fruition there was no closed session and the item will remain on the agenda for next month. And that was that.
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Triangle T Water District – http://triangletwaterdistrict.org/
4400 Hays Drive, Chowchilla, CA 93610
Staff: Sarah Woolf and Chase Hurley
Board – Lucas Avila – President, Dirk Vlot – Vice President, Emmanuel Benjamin, Cole Vlot, Molly Thurman
The Triangle T Water District GSA is in the Chowchilla Sub Basin DWR # 5-022.05