The Triangle T Water District held its board of directors meeting on Thursday, May 13, 2021 on Zoom. Executive Director Sarah Woolf took roll at 10:00am and all the directors were present. The first portion of the meeting was the TTWD GSA. Chairman Lucas Avila asked if there were any public comments and there were none. The minutes were approved as is.
The GSA Meeting
The first action item after the minutes was staff’s request of approving the annual cost share agreement and budget for the Chowchilla Subbasin Annual Report for 2022. This is the GSA report that has to be submitted to DWR. The board approved this agreement.
Next Chase Hurley, a man whose title I’m not sure of but maybe co-Executive Director, spoke about Prop 68 funding. In conjunction with Madera County there are plans to bring more surface water into the Red Top area. Hurley said with such an in-depth focus of subsidence, that undesirable result will also be addressed. He said more information will be coming.
Josh Dowell, who used to write for WaterWrights.net and evidently now works for Hurley, good for him, reported on some developments with the Madera County Board of Supervisors who sit as a GSA. He said there are proposed resolutions pertaining to the GSA managed by the County which are divided into zones. That is further divided into farm units. There are the other criteria and definitions to farm units. There are tiers based on when the property goes into production. These tiers will determine how much transition pumping will be allowed. Hurley said he and his staff are looking to ensure the County propositions won’t run counter to the district’s efforts to counter subsidence. I know that sounds counter intuitive – which is the usual condition with water policy – but if surface water is being recharge then a reasonable portion of that should be allowed for pumping. Hurley said Madera County and its Water Resource Manager Stephanie Anagnoson are working hard to help the situation.
Director Molly Thurman asked if there is any feedback from DWR on the GSP. Hurley said so far nothing bad has come back. DWR hasn’t commented on anyone’s GSP much that I’ve heard. Director Dirk Vlot said the recharge plan will continue to address the overdraft and replenish groundwater to an eastward direction. He said wait until a wet year or two comes and you will be amazed at what happens due to the new basins. He also said to expect greater notice from the state. Thurman asked when the transitional water plan will be implemented and Hurley said he expects it to come into play next year. The fees from transitional water would most likely go back to the county for further supplies or infrastructure or even a land fallowing pool. Avila said there is going to have to be a schedule about land fallowing.
Triangle T WD Meeting
The TTWD meeting began at 10:32am and there was no public comment. The minutes were approved. There is a vacant board of director’s seat. Woolf said Director Cole Vlot stepped down and there needs to be a new director nominated for appointment. Michael York was nominated and seconded. The vote was unanimous and York is the new director. This is a water district and to sit on a WD board you don’t have to live in the area but you do have to either own land or be entrusted with a proxy vote representing a landowner. York will have to fill out a Form 700 and go through ethic training. He is a grower in the area. Good for him perhaps, and by that I mean if it was me I’d rather be a director during wet years.
Hurley said the WD’s income has exceeded expenses so far. Can’t beat that with a stick. The dues and management fees have been coming in on schedule. The capital expenses have included matching funds for grants. Repair and maintenance costs have only been $10,000 for a pump repair. They have spent a bit more than $1 million on water. The board approved the report and agreed to pay its bills.
Hurley gave the water report saying there isn’t a spreadsheet as there has been no water deliveries so far this year. The water market this year is so very tight. Much of the source of surface water comes from the Exchange Contractors and they need their water for their own growers. There is some water available to bring in later in the year, like in the fall. The historic partners of Chowchilla WD and Madera ID would usually bring their water for sale from San Luis Reservoir and they don’t have any extra there. Hurley didn’t say so but Friant supplies are very low, so there’s nothing from the San Joaquin River CWD or MID can offer.
Next Hurley reported there won’t be a closed session today as the water purchase negotiation didn’t come through. He said the Vlot’s have been doing what they can to bring in water and have put their checkbooks on the table. They don’t have extra water. There is a new 2021 mitigation agreement with Ex Con pending and TTWD will negotiate on behalf of the growers.
Woolf reported there is a pipeline easement that should be completed by June. TTWD has white area folks who want to be annexed. Hurley commented that the County’s proposed tier and farm unit plan will help define the conditions and terms for being annexed.
Woolf said Julia Berry from Clayton WD was on the line and also a part of the appropriative water rights effort. Notice has been placed in the Madera Tribune and this is just part of a years long journey. Berry suggested public relations might help with the appropriations efforts.
That was about it for the meeting. The board welcomed York to the table and things ended at 10:55am. A nice, well conducted and informative meeting.
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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