The Kings River Water District held its Thursday September 20, 2018 board of directors meeting in Centerville on the Kings River. I heard this morning if a grower in California lets his fields fallow for more than three years they have to get a permit from California Fish & Wildlife to disk up the soil and plant something. So, that’s something to keep in mind when SGMA hits. Also, after several years of legal battles a vote at Gerawan Farms whether or not to unionize was concluded, for now, with I believe a five to one majority to get shed of the United Farm Workers. Good for them. The word is the judge will have the Agriculture Labor Relations Board investigated for improprieties. Good for him.
Chairman Jack Paxton called the meeting at 8:00am and the minutes were approved. There were no additions to the agenda and General Manager/Engineer/Treasurer Nick Keller gave the financial report and the board paid its bills.
Mike Sullivan, KRWD Superintendent reported the district is drawing 110 cfs. Somewhere on Annandale Avenue there are washouts on the shoulder Fresno County was going to fix but hasn’t got around to it yet. Somewhere else in the district some trees have been falling and loosing limbs the tractors and pickups can’t get to the ditch. Whoever is in charge of this type of thing has been pushing the debris off to the side of the road. Sullivan also said the aquatic weeds are spreading all over the place. I suggested nutria as they are herbivores but as attorney Lauren Layne helpfully pointed out they burrow quite a bit. Keller told local grower Dr. Klaus Hoffman’s permits have been approved and the district can do some work on his ditch. Layne had the board memorialize this with a memo showing the work done by KRWD staff will be at Hoffman’s expense.
Paxton gave his report saying the state has mailed out letters to landowners telling them to turn in their nitrogen management reports or pay a $1,000 per day fine. Ugly. It was reported Steve Haugen the Kings River Water Master said there will be a carved in stone five percent increase in water right fees.
Layne reported a pending bill requiring special districts to have a website with links to the agenda. Waiting to see if Governor Jerry Brown signs it. Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula’s bill to make recharge a beneficial use got hijacked. Once the rest of the gang in Sacramento got its collective nose and nuts in it, passage would have included putting pre-1914 rights at risk so the effort was dropped. The water tax that was not a tax because it was voluntary (I’d like to see this expand to other taxes) didn’t pass. Prop Three will be on the ballot for sure. Good deal. Layne also mentioned the Kings River Water Association will be involved in the NASA Airborne Snow Survey. Paxton said the Kings River watershed has more Alpine type terrain than the other neighboring watersheds. Moving on Paxton said Terra Nova Farm’s Don Cameron wants to set up a new flood control agreement with the Kings River Conservation District. If I understood correctly. Cameron has been experimenting with flood water irrigation on permanent crops. There was then a brief conversation about riparian rights. You can have property that doesn’t touch a river but still have a riparian right if it was reserved. You can loose Pre-1914 rights if you don’t use them but you keep riparian whether or not you use them.
There wasn’t any old business or new business to speak of and the meeting then went into closed session for three items: real property, anticipated litigation and potential litigation. I’m not sure the difference of anticipated and potential. I’ll have to ask.
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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.