The Alta Irrigation District held its board of directors meeting on Thursday, April 12, 2018 at its Dinuba headquarters. I go to a lot of meetings and I’m not sure if the quality of the chairs set aside for the public are indicative in any way of the organization’s culture. At yesterday’s Consolidated ID meeting I had well padded chair that I had to lean against the wall to keep from flopping over backwards. It wasn’t bad, much like a recliner. I’ve sat in medieval torture devises disguised as chairs at meetings in Porterville and wooden seats in Selma that squeak so much inhaling and exhaling caused enough noise to disrupt the meetings. Today, at AID got an old wooden chair with a padded leather seat that rocks and swivels. It rocks quite a bit and I had to lean it back into a corner. The result was also like a comfortable recliner, but if you try to swivel the chair will try to buck you off.

Chairman Jack Brandt called the meeting at 9:30 am and there were no public comments. Due to rising water in Pine Flat Lake AID General Manager Chad Wegley asked to add an item to the agenda regarding deliveries and the board was good with that. Director Jerry Halford lead the board through the proposed Kings River Water Association budget and assessment. It was interesting. Director Tom Marshall reported he completed ethics training at the law firm of Baker, Manock & Jensen. He said it didn’t last too long and the sandwiches served were very good.

Wegley reported on the water situation. He said February AID was looking at a three-week run. Now, after the recent storms the run has increased, but there is also a slight chance of a flood release. So, no later than mid-May AI can start a run. Attorney Lauren Layne said approving this now allows the district to begin a run before the next meeting. The inflow to Pine Flat is pretty big and Alta picks up 2,000 a/f per day. The last storm was warm and it melted a the snow below 8,000 feet. From the handouts AID has two water banking facilities: Harder Pond and Traver Pond with more than 6,900 a/f saved. Good for them.

Next the board approved the minutes and paid its bills. Wegley reported on collections and refunds. Family Tree Farms did pay on time. The US Postal Service misplaced the mail so FTF was refunded $500 or so in late fees. Wegley gave the treasurer’s report and it was approved.

Next on the agenda the current projects item. This is an informational item only. AID has 28 such projects taking place in its boundaries. Most of these projects have to do with roads and bridges. I find it interesting to see Cal Trans’ efforts to work on State Route 180 has disturbed yet another district. It looks to me Cal Trans just started building without consulting with the districts in its path. There is a new high school scheduled to be built for Dinuba. Naturally the site will impact AID conveyance. A 84” pipe will need to be installed. That’s an outside diameter of 100” or more than eight feet. There’s another three feet of fill on top, minimum. The pipe comes in eight feet segments and each foot of pipe weighs 2,500 lbs. Wegley is also an engineer and he was pretty excited about this. The trench is 13 feet deep and almost 40 feet wide. The easement needs to be 40 minimum, but during construction an 80 foot swath is needed to set aside material. You got to have room for the trench but you also have a lot of dirt coming out of the trench, you need room for a crane, special fill material and the pipe itself. Wegley said to call it the Alta Avenue Pyrenees.

New business was next and Wegley asked the board to grant a standard encroachment agreement with four separate projects. The board approved. The agreement with Dinuba Unified School District about the big pipe was handled all by itself. It appears there’s been a couple of issues between the two districts. They’ve both been burned by others in the past. AID is willing to review plans two times in case there is a change in the plans. More than that and the DUSD has to pay AID for extra costs. The board agreed pending legal review. Kings Canyon Unified School District and State Center Community College want to pave over a pipeline and the board was OK with this. Alta has a policy requiring development agreements when urbanization of land requires piping a ditch. Wegley said SCCC has already illegally encroached a pipeline. There are above ground vents – why would anyone put a fence post right next to it? Anyway, the board approved but no one knows how many beer cans have been dropped down the vents over the years.

Wegley reported on SGMA matters. He said Kings River East GSA (AID is a member) and the other six GSAs in the Kings River Sub Basin are in the midst of determining how to divide up the overdraft. There are questions like; how much water is Westlands pumping out from under the west side of the sub basin and how much is being pumped out from the south east side by the Kaweah side? Layne reported the coordination agreement for the Kings Sub Basin is moving along. Halford asked how long AID will have to wait to be reimbursed from the KREGSA? He said with investment rates of 1.5 percent the district may have lost upwards of $20. Wegley apologized and said SGMA has brought together many entities that haven’t worked with each other before. There are also questions of how receptive the first GSA billings are going to be. Wegley estimated 10 percent of the GSA invoices will be thrown in the trash.

AID is conducting a nitrates study. The district is asking the well owners who participated to join in again for Stage II. Wegley said nitrates come from animal, human or natural sources and those sources need to be identified. Not all or even most of the nitrates come from ag fertilizer. Two of the big tags for human generated nitrates are ibuprofen and caffeine residue. Kings River Conservation District will be responsible for the collection and testing. I’m not sure what lab will be used.

There will be an ACWA legislation meeting tomorrow. Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula has a bill AB 2649 that if passed will find recharge as a beneficial use and expediting the permitting process. Layne said in the past DWR has given grants for recharge only to have the State Board tell the recipient recharge isn’t a reasonable and beneficial use. ACWA is on board for this but Southern California doesn’t want too much recharge going on.

Wegley gave his manager’s report and said ACWA gave them a $1,500 refund on its insurance for doing such a good job preventing accidents. The meeting then went into closed session for three items.

 

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Alta Irrigation District 289 North L Street, Dinuba, CA 93 618 Office Phone 559/591-0800

General Manager-Chad Wegley, Attorney-Lauren Layne

Board President-Jack Brandt, Daniel Astiasuain, Jerry Halford, John Kalender, Tom Marshall, Larry Tout and Norman Waldner.

From www.atlaid.org Alta Irrigation District is located on the east side of the San Joaquin Valley, in Tulare, Fresno and a small portion of Kings Counties. The towns of Dinuba and Reedley are within the district’s boundaries. The district’s surface water supply is from the Kings River, with irrigation releases from Pine Flat Dam.

The 76 Land and Water Company was formed on June 7, 1882 with $280,000 in capital stock divided into 14 shares. The company took its name from Tulare State senator and cattleman Thomas Fowler’s “76 Ranch” which had significant land holdings in the area. In March 1884, the company moved its headquarters from its original location in Visalia to the newly formed town of Traver. The original intent was to develop a water supply and canal network to divert water from the Kings River to serve lands owned by the company near Traver.

The district boundaries encompass approximately 129,000 acres, with 111,000 cropped acres. The district operates 250 miles of open canals and 75 miles of pipelines.