The Eastern Tule Groundwater Sustainability Agency meeting was held on Thursday, January 4, 2018 at the Porterville City Hall. The Kern River GSA’s meeting cancelled earlier today and I swung by here to see what was up. In the meantime some of you may recall a while back I asked if anyone had a handle on windmill repairs. My pastor’s father in law, Wilbur Plougher the rodeo clown and he needed to get a windmill pump fixed on his ranch. The response was wonderful. Wilbur was a well known man and I use “was” because he passed away earlier this week. I know his life touched many lives in a positive and healthy way. If you’re not familiar with Wilbur it is well worth it to do a Google search. We’ve lost a real cowboy and man of faith.

Chairman Eric Borba called the meeting to order at 2:00 pm. After roll call during public comments a gentleman named Bill Samarin, I believe, has had a problem with the minutes from previous meetings and asked the board to take care of that problem. The representative on the board for the white areas also stepped down after today and it is most likely the alternate will step up.

Sean Geivet, General Manager for Saucelito, Terra Bella and Porterville IDs is the treasurer or executive director evidently. I apologize it wasn’t on the letterhead but it makes sense for him to have the position of Executive Officer. Geivet has a lot of growers in the area to take care of. He was handling the announcement the ETGSA needs a call for funds totaling $60,000 and the board went along with that. Just as soon as Geivet got the money he asked the board to spend it and they did. After all they already spent it. The board also approved the minutes at the current level of details.

Geivet said the model of how to operate the GSA is to hold the board meeting the first week, the stakeholders committee the second week and the executive committee the third week. Vice Chair Steve Kisling suggested the board meet every other month and that was preferable over the also proposed quarterly board meeting. Samarin spoke saying it curtails the public from giving needed input to limit the meeting to every other month. The board voted to hold the board meetings every other month on first Thursday at 2:00 pm starting in March.

Geivet said it was suggested an ad hoc committee be formed to work on the GSP with two members from the stakeholder and two from the advisory committees appointed. The goal is to establish a policy to go along with the GSP and Geivet said there are going to be tough policy decisions being made. In order for the draft to as palatable as possible there needs to be a lot of work in that. Samarin commented saying the impact is historic and he requested the public be allowed to comment during the advisory committee meeting. He sited other instances where this was allowed and requested the board include this transparency. The board voted to form the ad hoc committee.

Elizabeth DaBramo is a grad student from UC Berkeley studying the transitional pumping taking place as SGMA gets moving. There is an actual contract for her to do prepare a report for $10,000 or less. She graduates in May so the project will be completed by then. Samarin commented saying there is a vast amount of opinions out there. He said the transition is towards lower pumping and what is happening here is a euphemism for curtailing pumping. He said he’s a white area pumper and he said to call it what it is, curtailment pumping. A director asked about where the $10,000 is coming from and Geivet said at this time it is coming out of the pockets of the folks in the GSA. He said the term transitional isn’t trying to be used as false flag. He said it’s a study about the pumping taking place during the transition. That’s why he calls it that. The board awarded the contract and the meeting adjourned.

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ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  Copyright 2018 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.

SGMA The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 calls for the formation of Groundwater Sustainability Areas within Basins and Sub-basins to develop Groundwater Sustainability Plans.