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Triangle T Water District September 9, 2021

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Bermad irrigationThe Triangle T Water District held its Thursday, September 9, 2021, board of directors and Groundwater Sustainability Agency meetings. The meeting was on Zoom. Chairman Lucas Avila called the meeting at 10:00am. Co-General Managers Sarah Woolf and Chase Hurley took roll.

Subbasin Report

            Brad Samuelson reported Madera County is contracting with Davis Engineering to act as the controlling engineer for county matters. Samuelson is tracking this with Madera County Director of Water & Natural Resources Stephanie Anagnoson and will be getting the Prop 68 grant information back to the growers as quickly as he can.Conterra

There have been Inter-Basin coordination meetings and Samuelson has been representing Triangle T GSA. He said the Exchange Contractors have been working on a master well monitoring program that can be a first step for addressing subsidence. Subsidence has hit the Red Top area hard due to converting rangeland to orchards without an established surface water supply.

Samuelson said Tri T has already been working with Ex Con but the other participants are lukewarm on this and there will be more meetings before this plan can be launched. Director Dirk Vlot asked if the surrounding areas refuse to include the extra monitoring will the state step in. Samuelson said if this monitoring isn’t included in the Groundwater Sustainability Plan the Department of Water Resources can certainly deem it an inadequate GSP.Technoflo

The concern for the immediate area is pumping below the Corcoran Clay layer. The recently formed Clayton Water District is one of the big subsidence areas. CWD General Manager Julia Berry said the area in question exceeds the CWD boundaries and the district is dependent to some extent on what its neighbors are doing. Woolf stated there will be a landowner meeting soon and help to clarify what’s happening in the various subbasins.

The Board MeetingAll Water Rights

Avila ended the GSA meeting and started the board meeting. The minutes were approved and I confirmed in public comment that Woolf and Hurley are both General Managers. One mystery down several more always waiting in the wings.

Hurley gave the budget report saying there was some routine maintenance on the pumping plant but there wasn’t any water to pump this year. There was some PG&E costs but no expenditures on water sales. TTWD has been working with Clayton WD on various projects and CWD owes $106,000 but if I understood correctly CWD passed a 218 election and there are no concerns about this ever becoming a problem.

Hurley said since there is no water to purchase and most of everything else has been paid and there is currently plenty in the bank to cover costs he recommended something I’ve never heard before – no cash call, saying there is no reason for TTWD to hold that money in its account instead of the landowners. Good for him, if only more government could operate that way.


Hurley said the goal for the 2021 mitigation agreement with Central California ID and San Luis Canal Company will change in form. He said TTWD wants to take over as the signatory from the landowners so it’s then public agency working with public agency instead of private landowners.

Woolf said the siphon pipeline easement is still waiting for a court decision. She also said the annexation is winding its way through the Madera County LAFCo. There are 2,991 total acres and there is an initial $80 per acre and four-years of $16 per acre thereafter for a total of $430,721 or so. That isn’t as much as expected when this was first brought up. She asked the board for some direction. Hurley added these fees will go toward reimbursing current TTWD landowners for their share of the conveyance facilities construction. The board agreed to the terms as they were the original terms.

Appropriative Water Right Update

Woolf said the TTWD application, along with Aliso WD for appropriate water rights has been accepted by the State Board. The State Board has asked the applicants to provide a water availability analysis on the San Joaquin River from Millerton Lake to the Delta. It appears the State Board didn’t take into account the massive scope of this task. TTWD is talking with other applicants and seeking further direction from the State Board members since this is being driven by State Board staff. Berry said Clayton WD is sharing in the costs and her board wants to be looped in better. Woolf said the State Board staff had push back on having Directors Vlot and Molly Thurman participating on the call. Let me be clear Woolf didn’t imply anything by this, but I will. It was said the State Board staff didn’t understand why landowners would be involved in a technical discussion. I would think public servants, paid by the very same taxpayers requesting assistance would – if not welcome – at least not push back on having the landowners’ participation. Perhaps this in this day of one party domination in Sacramento is a radical thought.

Red Top Landowner

Woolf said the request to Madera County to have a meeting to prepare for future costs and such will take place later this month.

Hurley said he had a conference call with the Wine Group and Prudential Insurance, owners of neighboring property. He said the Wine Group is trying to make changes similar to TTWD’s in capital improvement projects. They were informed if they want to annex into TTWD later it could most likely cost more.

Avila asked to remove the closed session item for water purchase from the agenda for a while. That was about it and the meeting ended at 10:50am without any closed session. Go be good to yourselves and others.

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Triangle T Water District

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 – Co-General Managers

Board – Lucas Avila – President, Dirk Vlot – Vice President, Emmanuel Benjamin, Michael York & Molly Thurman

The Triangle T Water District GSA is in the Chowchilla Sub Basin DWR # 5-022.05