Documenter: Josef Sibala

Here’s what you need to know

  • Assistant Manager Adam Claes remarked canals are “full” and “delivering” to the growers with 130,000 acre feet (AF) of water in pipe land. Board members Wolfe, Jacobsen, Porter, and Beberian, except Prieto, approved the eastside hardship run, with a $125/acre water cost. 

  • The City of Fresno is bidding the first segment of the high-speed rail between First St. to Fresno St. for construction during the winter.

  • Due to the confusion on the relaxation of COVID protocols, mask-wearing and social distancing will continue to be enforced in FID offices.

The Scene

Since 1920, the Fresno Irrigation District (FID), according to its website, focuses on delivering surface water to customers in the agricultural, municipal, industrial, and environmental sectors of the Central Valley. FID receives most of its surface water supplies from the Kings River and San Joaquin River from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Central Valley Project. 

The regular meeting coincides with the news that the July water deliveries are “uncertain” and will rely on “future hydrology, precipitation, and weather.” According to the ABC30 report, “dry conditions” affect California, with more than “74% in extreme drought”. 

On Thursday, Jun. 10, 2021, the meeting was held at 3:00 pm via teleconference, with the public urged to submit written and verbal comments.

Names of officials/participants present:

FID Board of Directors

Ryan Jacobsen, President, Division 3

Jerry Prieto, Vice President, Division 1

George Porter, Director, Division 4

Christopher Woolf, Director, Division 2

Greg Beberian, Director, Division 5

FID Management Team

Bill Stretch, General Manager

September Singh, Assistant General Manager for Administration

Adam Claes, Assistant General Manager for Operations

Laurence Kimura, Chief Engineering

DeAnne Hailey, Controller

Mike Prestridge, Superintendent of Construction and Maintenance

Jim Irwin, Watermaster

David Burrow, Construction Maintenance Foreman

Discussions/Actions

After the roll call, the Board of Directors approved the following in the consent agenda, except Wolfe, who abstained item h. 

  1. Regular Board of Directors Meeting Minutes

  2. May 2021 Check Report

  3. May 2021 Detail Register

  4. May 2021 Unpaid Assessments Report

  5. May 2021 Investment Account

  6. Agency Project- The City of Clovis will replace the existing Helm Colonial South Branch No. 116 through the roadway, located southwest of Nees and Clovis avenues, with approximately 185 feet of 30-inch diameter ASTM C 361 RGRCP under board policy. Engineering Action Request 2020-21.

  7. Quitclaim – Granville Homes has requested FID to quitclaim its right-of-way on APN 574-150-02, located northwest of Clinton and Armstrong avenues. Engineering Action Request 2021-11.

  8. Quitclaim – FID has been requested by Fortune Associates, on behalf of Farco, Inc., and Boardwalk at Palm Bluffs, LP, to quitclaim any interest to Private Schaffner No. 279 on APNs 563 -245-04, -05, and -06 located southwest of Nees and Armstrong avenues. Engineering Action Request 2021-12

Afterward, Controller DeAnn Hailey reported funding towards project repairs, equipment, and engineering fees with adjustments. The general fund is 31%, below the 2.5% target, 33% in April. 

United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) representatives will be meeting with Hailey and Assistant General Manager for Operations Adam Claes on July 12 for the contract compliance review. 

Next, Claes remarked canals are “full” and “delivering” to the growers with 130,000 AF of water in pipe land. However, Airborne Snow Observatory (ASO) reported “most snow melted” in Pine Flat and Kings River during the heatwave. Due to unlikely rain in the Central Valley, they projected lower water runoffs by 900 cubic feet per second (CFS). 

In the Central Valley Project (CVP), the Friant share is 20%, while north and south of the delta agricultural lands are down to zero. Negotiations are “ongoing” between the state, USBR, Front Water Authority, and exchange contractors. 

June deliveries are on schedule. For Fresno/Clovis, deliveries are sent only to Surface Water Treatment Facilities (STWF) with no recharge. All Fresno CVP Class 1 water is brought.  5000-acre foot is on hold at Millerton Lake for the fall/winter deliveries. 

The Kings River Water Association (KRWA) might dip into the Temperature Control Pool (TCP) in October. Though, Kings River is uncertain for June. 

The post-June water supplies for agricultural use from surface water plants and other sources at 33,000 acre-feet (AF) above the Temperature Control Pool. The July water run requires 80,000 AF. Claes said these numbers are a “little conservative,” which “works at our benefit.” 

Directors Jacobsen, Porter, General Manager Stretch, and Claes, who make up the Groundwater Management Ad-Hoc Committee, met on Jun. 9 to discuss the options for supplies “available after June,” as well as recommendations for its use. 

The options were: recharge run that focuses water in the interior to benefit growers; eastside run; reducing groundwater banking facilities; well pumping, and eastside hardship run. 

During 2008, 2013, 2014, and 2015, FID performed the eastside hardship runs, with a typical demand of 300 AF /month, at Areas 101 and 102, the enterprise and laterals. In 2015, the board agreed on a water cost of $100 per AF plus $25 irrigation. 

Now, the Ad-Hoc Committee decided on an eastside hardship run of 3000 AF for July and reducing groundwater banking facilities well pumping by 3,500 AF, resulting in a projected November 2021 EOM storage of 26,000 AF above the TCP.  

Director Beberian expressed doubts on the Airborne Snow Observatory forecast, especially on density, while Claes and the management team confirmed reports as accurate “on the ground.”  Wolfe, Jacobsen, Porter, and Beberian voted to approve the eastside hardship run with a $125/AF water cost.  Prieto voted against.

Chief Engineer Lawrence Kimura reported the progress of the Central Basin projects, especially the canals in Central & Hughes, East & Malaga, and Orange & Lincoln. The construction contract for the Wagner project is “done.” The design and grant contracting work at Savory is “in progress.” Staff is “busy” with 2021-22 improvement projects. 

The City of Fresno is bidding on the first segment of the high-speed rail between First Street and Fresno Street for construction during the winter. In addition, the urban trail agreement with the City of Clovis is “getting closer.” FID received 2 pipeline location requests and gave 13 permits. 

Claes noted that Construction and Maintenance Superintendent Mike Prestridge and his crew built banks, especially in the Central Canal located on Central & Hughes. In addition, mowing has continued in the Lower Dry Creek between North & West. 

The crew expected “a lot of trash and branches,” and removed trash at Fancher Creek Canal at Braly Creek and also repaired the Teague Pipeline between Chestnut & Teague. 

Claes said the crew acquired additional skills and that their hours were focused mainly on repairing pipeline, brushing & weed control, construction and capital improvement projects, and canal earthwork. 

Assistant General Manager for Administration September Singh announced FID received the ACWA-JPIA President’s Special Recognition Awards for “low ratio of paid claims” against the reserves, despite the ditch breaks last week. However, due to the confusion on the relaxation of COVID protocols, mask-wearing, and social distancing are still enforced in FID offices. 

Stretch and officials found that testifying at the State Resource Control Board on June 2nd, 3rd and 4th was “disappointing” They are focusing on “leaky gates” and pipeline hits. 

Kimura and other senior engineers are concentrated on the high-speed rail crossings in the southern part of the district where the BNSF railroad is. Rachel Busani, an attorney working for the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, is joining the board in Flight Control District. 

With the board’s agreement, FID refused annexations and grant funding from Fresno Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) due to overlap of services. 

The Board met in closed session to confer with counsel regarding State Water Resources Control Board, Division of Water Rights, KRWA Petition for Change Re License No. 11521. 

The Board met to confer with counsel regarding State Water Resources Control Board, Petitions to Revoke or Revise the Declaration of Fully Appropriated Stream Systems concerning the Kings River System.

The Board met to confer with counsel regarding State Water Resources Control Board, Semitropic Improvement District of Semitropic Water Storage District v. Kings River Water Association et al.; Complaint in Support of Petition Revising and Revoking Declaration of Fully Appropriated Stream System for the Kings River. 

Board met in to confer with counsel on potential litigation given Lance-Kashian & Company encroachment into FID’s Harris Deed ROW, and the City of Fresno’s allowing said encroachment with knowledge of the nature of FID’s senior interest and recorded interests. 

The FID held a conference with legal counsel concerning Government Code 54956.8. involving the potential: (1) use of District facilities, canals, and pipelines, and including the potential lease/purchase/ sale/transfer or exchange of real property or real property interests in connection with groundwater banking facilities, basins, easements; and (2) the Board granting of authority to its negotiators to begin the process of negotiating the scope, water sources, price and terms for new or renegotiated water supply, water conveyance or cooperative agreements between the District and smaller individual Fresno County agencies, municipalities or communities (including but not limited to Kerman, Biola, Pinedale, Malaga, and other Fresno County within FID) providing for the use of the District’s conveyance system similar to the District’s contractual water supply and other contractual arrangements with the cities of Fresno and Clovis

The meeting ended at 5:30 pm. The next meeting will be on Thursday, July. 8, 2021, from 3:00 pm through teleconference. 

If you believe anything in these notes is inaccurate, please email us at Documenters-admin@thefresnoland.com with “Correction Request” in the subject line. 

Support our nonprofit journalism.

$
$
$

Your contribution is appreciated.