The Kings River Water District held its board of directors meeting on Thursday, January 18, 2018 in Centerville. It was a cold and gray and foggy day at the Kings River bottom lands.  Before the meeting began there was a gentleman who is a landowner, I’m not sure if he’s in KRWD or not. Anyway, he has been having problems with all manor of things: beaver dams, leaky head gates, material blocking the head gate. It seemed to shake out that the landowners upstream from a weir that delineates the chunk of land along the river have to take care of those things themselves. President Jack Paxton called the meeting at 8:15 am. General Manager/engineer Nick Keller was just a bit late due to driving conditions. There were no additions to the agenda or conflicts of interest.

The first item was the treasurer’s report and Keller gave it. I don’t think he was feeling very good. A couple of guys in the room have been recovering from the flue. He’s been working on collecting past assessment and it has been a hassle but getting it done. Apparently there are discrepancies with the county tax roles in some cases and that’s what causes headaches and heartburns for special district treasurers. KRWD is a small district and it was noted the cost of an annual audit far exceeds the annual cumulative cost of bookkeeping. In any event the bills were paid.

Superintendent Mike Sullivan gave his report saying flows on China Slough are down and there isn’t much demand. There is a lot of construction and a large gravel mining facility within a stones throw of the meeting. Director Steve Boos was wondering about expansion of the activity as some of the nearby trees are late season harvest. Sullivan said storage is full and the wet, foggy mornings are keeping demands down. Some of the predicted storms are not materialized.

Paxton said Pine Flat Reservoir is almost ready for a flood release. The Army Corps has not notified the Kings River Water Association because PG&E has yet to set its schedule due to uncertainty of supplies. If I understood correctly the expected allocation is 37 percent. The KRWA meeting was mostly closed session. Our friends the State Water Resources Control Board wants payment for its nine percent charge (not a tax) for water diversions. This is a way for the State Board to self-fund itself.

Under SGMA matters Keller said the Prop 26 hearing is set for February 1st. Boos said there are two different reports being used to establish water usage by crops by acreage. Keller said he can’t conceive the growers wouldn’t pass a 218 election. He said it’s that or let the state come in and take over the groundwater. Director Curtis Taylor said Governor Jerry Brown just announced when he leaves office the next governor will be faced with an insolvent state. Brown blamed it on Prop 13 limiting the state’s ability to increase taxes. If Brown was aware the state was spending more money than it was bringing in, he didn’t mention it.

Keller reported the cobble being placed in the construction of the High Way 180 program are going to create a silt problem and Caltrans will most surely be liable. If I heard correctly Caltrans can cut down ancient growth oak trees if it pays the EPA a fee. That makes it all better. There is a landowner suing Caltrans when it tried to condemn his property for right of way and he’s spanked the state bad. The plaintiff also works for Caltrans, so maybe that helped. There was as Paxton said, an amazing 98-year old engineer named Jim Sorenson, has passed away. He was one of the founders of Friant and many other districts in the area. Keller said Sorenson hired his father Dennis Keller at his first engineering job.

KRWD is looking at raising its assessments. As Keller said a Prop 26 election is not the way to go. A Prop 218 Election is most likely the best way for the district to finance all onerous government regulations coming down from Sacramento like ash from Pompeii. Keller did say the district is not in an immediate hurry but the state will force them to go to a volumetric system. That will be expensive. The meeting then went into closed session.

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Kings River Water District

The Kings River Water District meets at 8:00am on the third Thursday of the month at the Gerawan Farms Offices on Smith Avenue in Centerville California. KRWD is a member of the East Kings GSA and receives supplies from the Kings River. President Jack Paxton, Curtis Taylor, Danny Van Ruiten, Steve Boos & Mike Hacker.

General Manager/Engineer Nick Keller, Attorney Loraine Layne, Superintendent Mike Sullivan, Ditch Tender Ken Domoto. KRWD has about 19,000 acres of tree fruit, grapes and nuts along the Kings River bottom land on the east side of the San Joaquin Valley.