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Westlands Water District Water Policy Committee December 19, 2017

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The Westlands Water District held a Water Policy Committee meeting on Monday, December 19, 2017 at its Fresno headquarters at 11:00 am. The topic was Central Valley Salts and how nitrates has hijacked salts. The Regional Board has agreed to a 10-year time line to conduct a study that could cost the Valley 10 cents per acre. Daniel Cozad of the Central Valley Salts said it could take 100-years for the CV to heal from salts and nitrates. Mendota Farmer Will Coit said Tulare Lake used to send the salt through to the Bay naturally. He wanted to know who will be held responsible since Tulare Lake no longer flushes the salts. Cozad didn’t k now the answer to this mainly because his group focuses on salts introduced to the Valley from pumping at the Delta.

Westlands has a solar farm named after it but has no business link to it beyond the fact it is located on private property within Westlands. Staffer Russ Freeman spoke about an area in Kings County that will be included in a proposed EIR for Westlands Solar Park Mast Plan & WSP Gen-Tie Corridors Plan. It appears the final comments have been received. The comments have all been addressed. General Manager Tom Birmingham said comments and response to comments are incorporated into the final EIR. The solar park has to connect with the transmission lines. Grower Jon Reiter asked if there was a list of landowners involved in this deal and while there is a list of AP numbers to the property involved the names of the landowners are not on a list. Birmingham was clear this is not a WWD project, but a landowner/developer project. When asked if WWD could force a right of way for the transmission lines he doubted the district has any eminent domain powers as WWD isn’t authorized to convey power. Coit asked if a professional real estate negotiator has be used to maximize WWD’s take for easements and such. Staff is taking care of this and has a lot of experience. They could probably moonlight as real estate negotiators.

Freeman next spoke about the Temperance Flat issue. He believes San Luis Delta Mendota wants to buy a seat at the Temp Flat MOU and would like to know the board’s feelings about this. Temp Flat will have more than 1.26 million a/f of storage and produce 200,000 a/f of developed water. Public agencies could purchase storage accounts to fund the project and a $1 billion grant application for Prop One funding is currently before the California Water Commission.  The Friant Water Authority is planning further studies before the CWC award is announced next June. Additional modeling will be required, and the cost could be as high as $2 million. SLDM could end up paying half but how much each member of SLDM will pay has yet to be decided. But, if all goes as usual based on SLDM member size WWD would owe $400,000 at that time. SLDM has a 90,000 a/f average annual transfer to the west side. Freeman said there could be better ways to move this water around both geographically and on paper. For instance; San Joaquin River restoration flows could be exchanged out of San Luis Reservoir. Director Don Peracchi asked what the cost per a/f would be and depending on whether Prop One funds are awarded and accepted the price varies. Birmingham said enviro uses are tagged to Prop One funds and that may make the money non- palatable. He said the real question is does WWD want to invest in further studies or not. He said the 90,000 a/f was based on operational preferences thought to represent west side desires but may not actually do so. Freeman said this report was more informational since there is no SLDM activity agreement. Peracchi was concerned WWD could be up for owing more money if SLDM comes up with move with its own MOU seat. The question is whether WWD should join the MOU on its own or team up with SLMD or others. The committee moved to express interest in continuing without committing to spending any money yet. The meeting then went into closed session.

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ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  Copyright 2017 by Don A. Wright   No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of DAW.

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, Gary Esajian, Todd Neves & Sarah Woolf with two o’s.

Staff: Tom Birmingham-General Manager, Phil Williams-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