The Westlands Water District held its Tuesday, October 16, 2018 board of directors meeting at its Fresno headquarters. Chairman Don Peracchi called the meeting to order a little after 1:00pm. The board moved the SGMA discussion up in the agenda. General Manager Tom Birmingham introduced WWD SGMA expert Kitty Campbell by saying today’s presentation is about policy and not allocations.
Campbell said there has been a concept of green, yellow and red zones of pumping. Green means enough water to pump above the safe yield, yellow at the safe yield and the red means no pumping if I understood correctly. I was out in the breakroom listening in on a two inch telephone speaker because today’s meeting proved very popular and there wasn’t enough room in the board room to seat everyone. Management Area One is west of I-5 and there are no wells there. There are three more management areas for a total of four. Each area has a similar pumping history with Management Area Four being the most pumped area.
Each management area has the number of active wells, the total amount pumped per year, the average a/f pumped and the average allocation per well on a chart showing these figures from 2012 through 2017. Water levels from the past 60-years have been tracked as well and show how many times and how long the red, yellow and green zones were in effect. You can track this by water year. So, if a grower declines to pump on a good surface delivery year it can in effect bank some of the allocation. Campbell said it is expected most of the subsidence impacted areas will have restricted pumping.
There was a good deal of talk about what policies will help achieve the desired goals and be favorable enough to be implemented. Meters were definitely recommended. Campbell asked the board to consider allocations by management area or one amount district wide and tiered pricing by amounts pumped. And what to do with WWD land. Someone from the public suggested get more of this on the website so growers can keep up with the proposals.
Next after approving the minutes the board took up the matter of former Director Sarah Woolf’s resignation. There could be a special election or the position could be secured with an appointment by the board. A motion was called to approve resolution No. 122-18 that puts the vote to the district landowners. The special election can’t occur until February. WWD board seats are all district wide, there are no divisions. Finally, before the meeting went into closed session there was some bittersweet news. Gail Holman, public information officer will be leaving Westlands for a similar position with Community Medical Center. Holman has been an exemplary source of information, assistance and friendship.
DISCLAIMER OF RESPONSIBILITY; Waterwrights strives to provide his clients with the most complete, up-to-date, and accurate information available. Nevertheless, Waterwrights 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. Waterwrights’ clients therefore rely on the accuracy, completeness and timeliness of information from Waterwrights 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
Westlands Water District
3130 N. Fresno Street, Fresno CA 93703 Phone:559/224-1523
Board: Don Peracchi-President, Dan Errotabere – Vice President, Jim Anderson, William Bourdeau, Frank Coelho Jr., Larry Enos, Ryan Ferguson, Todd Neves & Sarah Woolf with two o’s.
Staff: Tom Birmingham-General Manager, Jon Rubin-Attorney, Dan Pope-COO
About: Without irrigation, farming in the Westlands area of California would be limited and ineffectual. The history of Westlands is one of continual adaptation, careful water stewardship and advanced technology. By maintaining a fierce commitment to sustainability, the Westlands’ comprehensive water supply system continues to adapt, educate, and surpass conservation goals. Throughout its history, Westlands Water District has demonstrated a lasting dedication to water conservation and recognized that the long-term survival of its farms depends on the effective management of California’s precious water resources. From www.wwd.ca.gov