The Consolidated Irrigation District’s board of directors met at its Selma headquarters on Wednesday, May 9, 2018. The Central Kings Groundwater Sustainability Agency met before the district. The officers are the same in both entities. ACWA didn’t slow this bunch down, except for attorney Doug Jensen who called in from Sacramento. Before the meeting began it was announced Margaret Macias will retire after this month. At 1:00pm Chairman Larry Cruff called the meeting to order.
The first item was dealing with an NGO that wants support from the CKGSA to get outreach to help the disadvantaged communities under Prop One. There could be an ulterior motive to force the City of Sanger to annex the disadvantaged community of Tombstone for water services. General Manager Phil Desatoff recommended the group be sent to the South Kings GSA for this reason.
Desatoff announced former DWR Paula Landis and former US Bureau of Reclamation Bill Luce will serve as the dispute resolution officers for the Kings River Sub Basin. That was worked out between the seven GSAs in the coordination agreement. Attorney Lauren Layne was credited with a great amount of help in working this out. That was that for the GSA meeting.
The CID meeting began at 1:11 pm and there were no public comments, additions or deletions to or from the agenda, no conflicts of interest and in the consent calendar Director Ray Moles had some questions. Moles wanted to know about the district’s O&M costs. Superintendent Walt Frost said when water runs begin O&M costs decrease as maintenance pretty much end. Cruff asked Jensen about a law case State v. Stout. Jensen said this is a High Speed Rail case. HSR will often sue the crap out of anyone and everyone just to see the look on their face. Jensen recommended whenever HRS names a district they contact him and it can usually be worked out without anyone having to go to court. Macias reported Tulare County needed a resolution regarding elections for candidates with areas in that county.
Frost gave the water report and said the Kings River is running at 7,000 cfs with CID getting 1,400 cfs of that. Desatoff said CID has been running Fresno ID and Alta ID water but as storage space was getting to small. Since this past Monday CID has been running its own water. The storage agreements at Pine Flat and the water in the Kings River are managed by following the writings of an ancient Chinese astrologer named Blue Book. In other words, at least to me, the formula is complicated. The various contractors benefit from differing conditions of runoff and timing. Frost said some of this water is being sent to recharge ponds. The district’s goal is to recharge 900 cfs in its system.
Desatoff gave his report and said he and FID met with the McMullen Group GSA to work out some preliminary agreements. He said the Kings Sub Basin GSAs have 25 folks at the coordination agreements. These smaller meetings have helped work through some issues. He said the Upper Kings GSAs are working well together. He’s going to ACWA tomorrow to meet with State Board staff to discuss how to deal with differences in methodology. He said the solution is already known; bring in more surface water or fallow and retire land. The question is how much overdraft in the sub basin and who gets charged for it. Desatoff said he’s optimistic agreements will be reached. He said the other GSAs are populated by rational people who can work together cooperatively. Establishing the methodology of determining how the data is evaluated will be a big factor in the upcoming days.
CID bought some automated head gates that turned out to have faulty mother boards. Like the day after the warranty expired $20,000 worth of problems surfaced. Desatoff said the email chain has proven fruitless and he may have to consult with Jensen.
Next was an open session real estate matter. The deal was already conducted in past closed sessions but for some reason I couldn’t fathom the board had to authorize Desatoff to sign off on the change of title. Well the board authorized him to do so. Jensen said it would be a good idea to allow Cruff to sign as well if needed as different title companies have different rules.
Darcy Burke of Water Mark Associates was scheduled to call in at 2:00 pm to explain her 218 Election proposal. Before she called Desatoff said there are five options in her plan. He spoke with Fresno ID GM Gary Serrato who strongly advised not to delay the vote primarily because water is running. There is also a Sikh language radio station willing to run public service notices. CID has been burned in 218 elections in the past. McMullan, North Fork and South Fork Kings GSAs are all working on 218 Elections and a gentleman in the room said he’s got two different ballots in the mail recently. CID’s increase is bigger; from $23 per a/f to $30 per a/f but it’s going to a district that is delivering water and actual projects as opposed to administrative costs. Director Earl Hudson suggested waiting until August to hold the election and that would give the district time to work with Burke. The old plan under consideration was for a July election. Some growers in the room advocated waiting until September to get past the bulk of the busy season. Moles said the growers are aware to at least some degree the dangers of SGMA. Cruff pointed out the raisin growers are going to still be very busy in September.
At 2:10 pm Desatoff called Burke. She advised waiting beyond July would be smart. She said getting more time to wrap up a website and additional outreach; including one on one talks. Cruff asked if there is a better time of year and she said the November election will put the idea of voting in folks’ head. She strongly advised against the Christmas season, New Years and tax time in mid-April. She liked October. She also didn’t believe CID is capable of keeping on message without help. CID doesn’t have a website for example. CID has minimum staff. Water Mark will train staff as well. She said if the district wants to send her a budget she can work up a plan as well. Director Tom Benzler said as far as minimum staff to bring in the ditch tenders.
After speaking with Burke the board was persuaded to put off the election until fall. Benzler was comfortable with giving Desatoff a sum and having him negotiate. Hudson pointed out at what ever time the election was held somebody is busy with planting or harvesting. He said not to wait any longer to make a decision. He doesn’t want to wait until the next board meeting and burn another 30-days. Cruff said something between $20,000 and $30,000. Hudson moved to give Desatoff authority to work out a deal with Burke for no more than $30,000. This passed. Brian Ehlers, Provost & Pritchard said even if things go to November there are still timelines to finalize the engineers report.
The meeting went into closed session.
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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