The Kern Water Bank Authority held its board of directors meeting on Monday, January 8, 2018 at its Bakersfield headquarters. There was a lot of talk about cold weather before the meeting. Dennis Atkinson, Tejon Castaic Water District just got back from Alaska where it was 1 degree when he left. He said you can go to downtown of whatever little burg he was visiting and everyone left their vehicles running. You may not get them started again. Evidently they have a pretty low car theft problem. My wife went back to Louisiana where it froze every night for a week. Finally it started raining today here in the Valley. I don’t know what that has to do with extreme cold, but I’ve written enough to get a nice, balanced look for the drop cap.(That appears in the original format you’ll see in the archived PDFs.)

President Bill Phillimore called the meeting to order at precisely 3:00 pm and the minutes were approved. He allowed me a moment to introduce Alan Becker. Becker is going to a few meetings with me. He’s a grad student at Fresno State and already has a world of water experience. Danelle Scott gave the treasurers report. Kim Brown (and this probably should have been mentioned earlier) had on a coat so pink I think Dave Beard suffered mild sunburn. It was also said if you want your lawyer fees to look reasonable over-budget for legal expenses. Attorney Ernest Conant had to take a call and stepped out of the room and didn’t get to hear this pearl. Some questions the board had about the bills was the security costs. There are night guards on the bank and copper thefts have stopped.

General Manager Jon Parker gave his reports and said there is just a bit of recharge – 66 cfs until the end of the month. Looks like this water is coming from the Cross Valley Canal. Recharge rates have exceeded 50,000 a/f per month as an average for 2017. One graph indicated groundwater depths are nosing above 50 feet from the surface. He reported on maintenance and the neg declaration when through for the bike path. There is 10 feet along the path through the bank where easement is needed. The race track is up for sale. Well replacement, rehab and arsenic remediation are ongoing and they are expensive but a new turnout near the train trestle is half a million dollars. Wow. There will be a good chunk of funds from the well replacement project that could go to help balance a good chunk of funds needed for the IRWMP.

Parker said only one undesirable result could happen on the water bank. The risk of pumping it dry and causing subsidence isn’t going to happen. That was the only one Parker identified under SGMA. Still, KWB has joined the Kern Groundwater Association’s GSA and it will cost $18,000 for the KWB share. KWB and the Pioneer Group water bank could share a KGA seat and reduce its costs even further. Bill Taube said the assessment could be laid on irrigated acres and another figure would have to be arrived at. These figures are much smaller than expected last year but Parker pointed out the coordination committee is discussing this and that will be brought to the KGA board meeting later this month. He said GEI Engineering has started working on the GSP and the deadline is short. Folks are worried. Parker said Brown worked out an analysis wherein banking will not be a problem with the coordination of the GSP. Banking has already developed mitigation measures and do not contribute to native groundwater consumption. Parker has discussed this with Conant and will be talking with Rosedale Rio Bravo Water Storage District and the other bankers in the Kern sub basin. He expects a definite deal by the March meeting. The next KGA is January 24th at 8:00am. One assumes at the risk of making an ass out of u and me the location will be at the Kern County administration building’s opulent third floor meeting room.

There are no cattle grazing on the bank – awaiting further forage development. Increased pond area could impact the KWB’s habitat conservation program. Phillimore said new pipes and pumps will not make a permanent disturbance but a new pond will. He wants to see all the disturbances such as new ponds and bike lanes and such rolled together so California Fish & Wildlife “won’t have a cow man.” His words not mine. Not really. He said the recent celebration of KWB’s 25th anniversary was a great opportunity to showcase the habitat of the bank. Now is a good time to push for improvements without putting the habitat conservation plan at risk. Having the HCP at risk could open up a bummer of a bio review.

There was no old or new business so the meeting went into closed session for 11 items.

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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.

KERN WATER BANK AUTHORITY

1620 Mill Rock Way, Bakersfield, CA 93311 Office: 661/398-4900 www.kwb.org

Staff: Jon Parker-General Manager, Danelle Scott-Accountant, Ernest Conant-Attorney, Nick Torres-Superintendent

Board: William Phillimore-Chair Westside Mutual Water Company, William Taube-Vice Chair Wheeler Ridge Maricopa Water Storage District, Steve Jackson-Treasurer Dudley Ridge Water District, Dennis Atkinson Tejon Castaic Water District, David Beard KCWA Improvement District 4, Wilmar Boschman Semitropic Water Storage District & Scott Hamilton Westside Mutual Water Company