The Kern Water Bank Authority held its Monday, August 13, 2018 board of directors meeting at its Bakersfield headquarters on Ming Avenue. I had a third-grade teacher named Miss Ming when I lived in Bakersfield. She wasn’t Chinese as I recall but she was very nice and kind. Two different things. Speaking of nice and kind Chairman Bill Phillimore kicked things off at precisely 3:00pm and asked George Capello to sit as alternate for Wheeler Ridge Maricopa Water Storage District Director Bill Taube who wasn’t at the meeting. Capello’s reign of terror only lasted about 30 seconds when Taube showed up. Capello barely had time to approve the minutes. The board then approved the financial matters and attorney Ernest Conant and General Manager Jon Parker said the long wrangled bike path along the water bank is just about ready pending California Fish & Wildlife approval. The KWB approved its portion of the deal which leaves it completely free of any responsibility of any kind.
Staff reports were next and Parker said total recharge has been impressive from the last rainy year. Well levels are recovering overall. Almost all the 2017 well repair and replacement projects are complete, just a little electrical work. Recharge facility repairs and the infamous or un-famous trestle turnout is awaiting review by the Kern County Water Agency and should be finished by October. The maintenance project and expenditures were reviewed by Parker for the board’s edification. KWB is putting in new recharge basins pending review by the wildlife folks. The KWB Canal is also getting millions of dollars in enhancement and upgrades. Half of the projected costs for the Authority’s future will be more than $7 million in just wells. There are at least 800 head of cattle currently grazing the bank. There is also a big uptick in yellow jacket meat bees. There are some dead fish in areas.
The draft basin setting report on the Kern Groundwater Authority GSA released. There are concerns about the cost of white areas to be discussed in closed session. Parker has spoken with DWR about KWB’s status under SGMA. Parker said DWR is clearing learning as it goes. The KWB could easily be a management area but it will have to have all the elements of a GSP prepared. So, there is no easy out by becoming a management area. Phillimore asked about requests from other nearby property to gloom onto KWB’s GSA and Parker said unless KWB is given the property with full control – forget it. Phillimore said to offer a ridiculous price to manage the land and see what happens. Someone said this is the same deal Kern County wants with the white areas. Taube said he saw presentation from the State Board staff who stated all the water banked must be used by five-years or loose it. Conant said this started up with the Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula’s recharge as a beneficial use bill. The language was amended so this shouldn’t be a big deal. Closed session was next. So, that was a 35 minute long meeting.
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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 Castac Water District, David Beard KCWA Improvement District 4, Wilmar Boschman Semitropic Water Storage District & Kim Brown Westside Mutual Water Company
Located on a large, undeveloped section of the Kern River’s sandy alluvial fan, the Kern Water Bank covers nearly 30 square miles over California’s southern San Joaquin Valley. Ideally situated, both for its unique geology and its proximity to water supply and delivery systems, the Kern Water Bank plays a dual role in California’s economically vital agricultural heartland.