Documenter: Josef Sibala

Here’s what you need to know

  • General manager Thomas Birmingham maintained that the Central Valley Project borrowed 77,000 AF (acre-feet) from the San Luis Dam, decreasing from the projection of 103,000 AF. These borrowings aim to relieve CVP demand and for “plenty of room” to avert water rationing. 

  • Deputy General Manager of External Affairs Shelley Cartwright noted Executive Order 14017 of the Biden administration, which “covers” the food supply chain initiatives, technology, and mining. Then, she said state’s emergency regulations curbing “unreasonable” wastage and regarding water use on the Russian River.

The Scene

Since 1952, according to its website, the Westlands Water District has provided water services to landowners and water users in Western Fresno and Kings Counties. Their services involve sustainable management and delivery of water supply and the provision of ongoing education, advanced technology, and innovative methods for environmental conservation.

The meeting coincided with recent updates from the State Water Resources Control Board warning farmers of “water cutoffs” until the onset of winter rains. 

On Tuesday, Jun. 15, 2021, the board meeting was held at 1 p.m. in person in a separate room. Likewise, the public accessed through monitors while wearing masks and observing social distancing. 

Officials present

  • Westlands Water District Board of Directors:

Ryan Ferguson (President), Frank Coelho (Vice President), Daniel Errotabere (Member), Jim Anderson (Member), William Bourdeau (Member), Stan Nunn (Member), Todd Neves (Member), Ceil Walter Howe III (Member), and Kevin Assemi (Member). 

  • General Management

Thomas W. Birmingham (General Manager), Jose Gutierrez (Chief Operating Officer), Shelley Cartwright (Deputy General Manager-External Affairs), Jon D. Rubin (Assistant General Manager/General Counsel), Sheila Green (Science Advisor), Karen Clark (Executive Assistant).

  • Finance and Administration Division

Bobbie Ormonde (Deputy General Manager of Finance & Administration), Jim Carter (Information Technology Officer), Stephen Farmer (Supervisor of Customer Accounting), Heather Shepherd (Supervisor of General Accounting), Gilbert Cano (Supervisor of Procurement and Fleet Services), and Ter Vang (Supervisor of Human Resources & Administration). 

  • Resource Division

Russ Freeman (Deputy General Manager-Resources) and Katarina Campbell (Supervisor of Resources).

  • Operations and Maintenance Division

Bill Pierce (Director of Operations & Maintenance), Jon Smith (Supervisor of Mechanical Maintenance), Efrain Gutierrez (Supervisor of Electrical Maintenance), Chuck Serrano (Supervisor of Operations), Wayne Glover (Supervisor of Civil and Preventive Maintenance), and Kelley Vandergon (Supervisor of Field Engineering & Planning). 

Discussions/Actions

Deputy General Manager of Finance & Administration Bobbie Ormonde petitioned the board to exclude lands from Westland Water District Distribution District No. 2.

After the call to order, the board considered corrections/additions to the agenda items, as authorized by Government Code 54950. Then, the board approved the minutes of the regular board meeting of May 18, 2021, and the Special Board Meeting of May 21, 2021.

General manager Thomas Birmingham maintained that the Central Valley Project borrowed 77,000 AF (acre-feet) from the San Luis Dam, decreasing from the projection of 103,000 AF. These borrowings aim to relieve CVP demand and for “plenty of room” to avert water rationing. 

He noted that the district is aware of the drought and how water “has gotten more expensive” for growers. Hence, he stressed flexibility in operations focusing on transfer agreements in July, August, and September 2021. 

Deputy General Manager of External Affairs Shelley Cartwright said rules written in the Trump administration have repealed or under review, including Reg. 0648-BJ44, Reg. 1018-BD84, Reg. 0648-BH42, Reg. 1018-BC97, and Reg. 0648-BJ77. 

She noted Executive Order 14017 of the Biden administration, which “covers” the food supply chain initiatives, technology, and mining. Then, she said state’s emergency regulations curbing “unreasonable” waste wastage and regarding water use on the Russian River.

Supervisor of Resources Katarina Campbell stated that the Sustainable Groundwater Management Agency has available $3 million grant funding for farmers yet was competitive. 


Consent Agenda

The board unanimously approved the following in the consent agenda:

  • The board adopted Resolution No. 109-21, placing in nomination Director Ryan Ferguson as a board member of the Association of California Water Agencies, Region 6.

  • The board considered proposed criteria for a potential program that provides benefits to non-irrigable lands. The staff is working on an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the next July meeting. 

  • The board considered the appointment of district representatives to the San Luis and Delta-Mendota Water Authority Board of Directors.

  • The board approved the 2020-2021 Budget Transfer to prepare an Environmental Impact Report to evaluate potential impacts of the proposed Article II Revisions and possible conversions of agricultural lands.

  • The board approved accounts payable reports. 

  • The board adopted Resolution No. 110-21, confirming the execution and delivery of the contract between the United States and Westlands Water District providing for project water service, San Luis Unit, and Delta Division and facilities repayment under Resolution No. 119-19.

  • The board considered the request for a contribution to the reception for Jose Ramirez.

  • The board authorized the 2021 Water Purchase Agreement with Placer Water Agency. They found the water transfer exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act, and allowed related actions.

  • The board authorized the execution of the Cooperative Agreement for the Central Valley Project Water Transfer Project between Del Puerto Water District, Panoche Water District, Westlands Water District, and Contra Costa Water District. The board found the Water Transfer exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act and authorized related actions. 

The meeting approximately ended at 2:40 p.m. The next meeting will be on July 20, 2021. 

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.