The Consolidated Irrigation District’s board of directors met at its Selma headquarters on Wednesday, April 11, 2018. Selma is almost due south of my house, so I usually take back roads to get off of Highway 99. At the intersection of Jensen and McCall there is a big PG&E substation. Just north of this is a farm house. It has two tall flag poles and I noticed today there were two US flags. In the past I’ve seen a US flag and a Japanese battle flag – the kind with the rising sun used in WWII. It makes me wonder.
Chairman Larry Cruff called the meeting to order at 1:00 pm and there were no public comments or deletions from the agenda. Nor were there any conflicts of interest. The minutes were approved and under accounts payable. CID General Manager Phil Desatoff reported on some serious trouble averted with the automated water works. The mother boards of the controllers were faulty and Desatoff told the board it is possible to get the $20,000 spent on consultants to get things working. I’ve been hearing there is such a thing as an electronic kill switch. The warranty of CID’s gear was three years. It died at three-years and one month. Ouch. Cruff asked Water Master/Superintendent Walt Frost about Gar Tootelian Inc.’s service. GTI provides CID’s chemical needs. Frost said the service is very good and they stand behind their advice. He said CID doesn’t apply chemicals without GTI’s advice. I believe that helps keep the district in compliance and out of court. Finally, the board approved travel expenses for Desatoff to attend the next ACWA meeting.
Desatoff gave the water report. If I understood correctly CID has enough supplies at Pine Flat Lake to run 41 days at 1,400 cfs. That equals a little more than 114,000 a/f. The Lone Tree portion of the district can run its 16,000 a/f plus for 103 days. Director Earl Hudson said he’d rather have ditch deliveries in August and pump earlier in the season. Desatoff said Freson Irrigation District is getting ready to start deliveries and part of the conveyance is much easier if CID runs at the same time.
SGMA was next and Desatoff said he’s seen a rough draft of the GSP triggered Prop 218 Election materials. Attorney Lauren Layne said if the engineers report can be adopted in May and the public hearing can be held in the July meeting. Provost & Pritchard are conducting the engineering report for the 218 evidence. There needs to be meetings throughout the district to help get a majority vote drummed up. This vote, if the 218 wins, has to be completed within enough time for Fresno County to incorporate the increased assessment the tax role. Cruff was concerned the time may be too tight and wants to see the draft. Desatoff said there could be a special meeting to approve the engineer’s report. The board liked that. The board is interested in hiring a consultant to help educate the public. The special meeting is tentatively scheduled in two weeks. Layne also updated the board that a MOA on coordination in the Kings River Sub Basin is in development.
Desatoff said CID is being asked to approve all the designs for High Speed Rail crossings over its canals. He said the district’s requests for HSR to purchase land for the dirt. Afterwards the hole in the grounds can be used for recharge. However, HSR has found cheap dirt, $.50/yard next door to the district. Cruff pointed out HSR has more than one story out there. Evidently the authorities in charge have decreed the train needs to go another 25 miles faster and that changes the design which changes the need for dirt. The meeting then went into closed session at 1:50 pm. At 2:00 pm the closed session ended, and Layne announced the district sold a house it owns for a fair price.
The Central Kings Groundwater Sustainability Agency came to order at 2:05 pm. Under public comments Amanda Monaco, she is representing the Leadership Council, a NGO with the word justice in its title seeking letters of recommendation for grants to fund outreach for SGMA education to disadvantaged communities. Hylon Kaufman showed up representing Ranch Systems. Ranch Systems manufacturers telemetry devices and a supporting cloud based platform used to provide monitoring and control automation for agriculture and water management. It’s being used by the Fox Canyon Groundwater Management Authority that’s located somewhere in Ventura County.
Desatoff said there is a MOA, as mentioned earlier today, to help with coordination between the Kings Sub Basin GSAs. The steps are: a dispute will be presented to all the GSAs in the sub basin, if there doesn’t help it goes to a team of mediators and if that doesn’t work it goes to court. Layne added this is only for technical disputes. There is a DWR grant to fund this and that is being administered by the North Fork Kings GSA.
Desatoff said there are five proposals of varying degrees of sanity. Some of them are: Split all the water between everyone – which he considered a non-starter. Another proposal was to measure the water table with groundwater outflow to determine overdraft and yield. The most recent methodology is to look at cropping patterns, determine the evapotranspiration and figure the rates from there. But there are other variables to be considered. Desatoff believe CID overdrafts 20,000 a/f per year if I understood. The McMullin Area GSA has rejected fallowing and land retirement and that changes and challenges the process. The folks in the NFKGSA are concerned about deep aquifer issues dependent on Westlands WD pumping. Desatoff said solving the shallow aquifer may be easier with Westlands issues taking longer There’s about eight months left to come together and develop a GSP. Desatoff said the final methodology must be scientifically sound, but also reasonable. The internal deadline for a GSP of the Kings Sub Basin is January 2019 so there is a year to wrestle with the DWR for January 2020 SGMA deadline. Desatoff said most of the issues are agreed upon but the big question is how to share the overdraft.
There needs to be public outreach meetings for the Central Kings GSA. Desatoff said these meetings could be held in conjunction with the 218 meetings. Layne said other GSAs in the sub basin have used NGOs to help. This led to a discussion about how combining the two messages could confuse portions of the overlapping audiences of disadvantaged communities and growers. The proposed 218 fee will double the CID assessment to $54 per acre. However, this is a limited term arrangement. Each year for 10-years CID will purchase 50 acres and eventually, provided it rains the
district will have 500 additional acres of recharge and should be sustainable. Mel Lubisich was at the meeting. He’s Vice President of Farm Lands for Pearson Realty and recommended investigating offering leases for recharge. In his experience there are folks who won’t sale. Land values could drop due to SGMA further eroding the motivation to sell. Board seemed to think this a good idea. And that was that.
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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.
CONSOLIDATED IRRIGATION DISTRICT – 2255 Chandler St, Selma, CA 93662 Telephone; 559/896-1660
CID covers 145,000 acres mostly in South Central Fresno County. Surface water supplies: Kings River CID is its own GSA
General Manager – Phil Desatoff, Attorney – Doug Jensen, Water Master – Walt Frost, Controller – Margaret Macias
Board of Directors – President Larry Cruff, Thomas Benzler, Earl Hudson, Tony Lewis, Ray Moles