Documenter: Eunice Choi

Here’s what you should know

  • There will be more discussion in the future for collaboration or funding with Cultivate California.

  • The Friant-Kern Canal Middle Reach Capacity Project is still in discussion and will now be undergoing construction.

  • There has been much discussion within the Middle Reach Capacity Project about turnouts.

    • According to this website, the purpose of Friant Kern Canal Middle Reach Capacity Correction Project is to restore the conveyance capacity of the Canal to its original design and constructed capacity and to provide operational flexibility and operational storage at Millerton Dam.

  • The FY ‘22 OM&R Budget will soon be approved for the public to view.



  • Edwin Camp Arvin-Edison W.S.D. (AEWSD) 

  • Kole Upton Chowchilla W.D. (CWD) 

  • Brock Buche City of Fresno (CofF) 

  • George Porter Fresno I.D. (FID) 

  • Chris Tantau Kaweah Delta W.C.D. (KDWCD) 

  • Kent Stephens Kern-Tulare W.D. (KTWD) 

  • John Arnold Lindmore I.D. (LID) 

  • Cliff Loeffler Lindsay-Strathmore I.D. (LSID) 

  • Josh Pitigliano Lower-Tule River I.D. (LTRID) 

  • Jim Erickson Madera I.D. (MID) 

  • David A. Brown Orange Cove I.D. (OCID) 

  • Eric Borba Porterville I.D. (PID) 

  • Steven G. Kisling Saucelito I.D. (SID) 

  • Matthew Leider Teapot Dome W.D. (TPWD) 

  • Edwin Wheaton Terra Bella I.D. (TBID) 

  • Rick Borges Tulare I.D. (TID)

The Scene

The meeting was hosted online through a video meeting platform called Webex.

The ambience was generally formal. 

The staff were allowed to meet in-person.

The number of attendees (not including officials) were ~22.

The meeting (closed session) started at 8:30 AM.

The open session started at 10:08 AM.

Cliff Loeffler Lindsay-Strathmore began the roll call at 8:30 AM.

I was not able to hear any public comment before the meeting went into closed session.

Closed Session

According to the agenda, this is what was discussed in the closed session.

  • CONFERENCE WITH REAL PROPERTY NEGOTIATORS Friant-Kern Canal Middle Reach Capacity Correction Project Right of Way (Government Code section 54956.8) 

    • Property: Tulare County APN: 302-140-011, 319-140-001, and 319-140-028 Agency negotiator: CEO, COO, General Counsel, CEA Negotiating parties: FLS Enterprises LLC/Chivo Nuevo LLC Under negotiation: Price and terms of payment 

    • Property: Tulare County APN: 302-240-013, 302-250-006, and 320-030-006 Agency negotiator: CEO, COO, General Counsel, CEA Negotiating parties: Farmland Reserve, Inc. Under negotiation: Price and terms of payment 

    • Property: Tulare County APN: 302-130-022, 302-130-027, 302-130-033, 319- 150-010-000, and 319-150-0160-000 Agency negotiator: CEO, COO, General Counsel, CEA Negotiating parties: Booth Ranches LLC Under negotiation: Price and terms of payment 

    • Property: Tulare County APN: 302-140-012, 302-140-013, and 302-140-014 Agency negotiator: CEO, COO, General Counsel, CEA Negotiating parties: Paramount Ranch Co. Under negotiation: Price and terms of payment for an easement 

  • CONFERENCE WITH LEGAL COUNSEL – ANTICIPATED LITIGATION (Government Code section 54956.9(d)(2) Significant Exposure to Litigation: Two potential matters. 

  • CONFERENCE WITH LEGAL COUNSEL-INITIATION OF LITIGATION (Government Code section 54956.9(d)(4)) Initiation of Litigation: Three potential cases. 

  • CONFERENCE WITH REAL PROPERTY NEGOTIATORS Property: Friant-Kern Canal facilities and right-of-way Agency negotiator: CEO, CFO, General Counsel Negotiating parties: United States (Bureau of Reclamation) Under negotiation: Middle Reach Capacity Correction Project Repayment Contract (price and terms of payment)

There was no public comment before reconvening into open session.

Cultivate California Presentation

  • The presentation is on page 5 of 370. 

  • The speaker(s) talked about the need to meet the budget that Cultivate California has yet to meet this year. He continues on how this program is extremely essential for farming and for the Californians. Right now, CC has to have a $230,000 base budget. With that, it reaches 16 million people. They have not raised that amount yet. 

  • They exclaim how they would love to have Friant Water Authority as a flagship partner to their organization.

  • Unknown Board Director: How do you propose we make a connection between the man on the street and the policymakers that are against this on every term: water, air, environment? 

    • The staff from CC has stated that they have advocated for agricultural water use and the organization actively aligns itself with other bigger coalitions. They also help support public messaging with media activity.

  • Chris Tantau Kaweah Delta: “ I think this is an excellent opportunity to expand on the agricultural community.”

  • Tom Weddle (Ivanhoe Irrigation District): “What percent of the budget goes to facilitation?”

    • $230,000=total budget

    • Of that budget, $30,000 is the administrative cost.

    • Of that budget, $200,000 is the outreach cost.

  • Lucia: “Have you ever worked with CA Grown?”

    • The CC staff acknowledges that CA Grown is a big project in which they are funded with a big grant that CC did not get. However, the speaker noted that he was on the phone for the last few weeks with Karen Ross from CA Grown and talked about the complementary aspects of these 2 programs. But they are not focused on water, and the messaging of Cultivate California is to connect consumers through food, water, and other agricultural topics. 

  • No public comment.

Consent Calendar

The following routine matters will be acted upon by one vote, unless a Board Member requests separate consideration of the item. 

  • Approval of the Minutes – Board of Directors Meeting of May 27, 2021. (Loeffler)

  • Accept Cash Activity Reports for May 2021 and pay the bills for June 2021. (Loeffler) 

  • General Membership – July 1st Call-for-Funds – The Board will review and approve an FY 2021 fourth quarter General Membership Call-for-Funds for July 1, 2021.

    • This item was deferred at the meeting (not voted on).

 Public Hearings

Friant-Kern Canal Middle Reach Capacity Correction Project – Adoption of a Resolution Finding and Determining That the Public Interest, Convenience and Necessity Require the Acquisition of Certain Property for Public Purposes (Property: Tulare County APNs: 302- 240-013, 302-250-006, and 320-030-006; Owner: Farmland Reserve Inc.) 

  • Jason Phillips, Chief Executive Officer, talked about how it is necessary to acquire certain properties that are owned by Farmland Reserve. The Middle Reach Capacity Protection Project, in particular the Canal Realignment, is requiring the Board to acquire about 10 miles of additional right of way. These properties are located in the area that the canal is going to be relocated.

  • As part of that, there has been negotiations with property owners along that new right of way. Offers were sent to all the property owners at this time. Phillips explains that the Board is in negotiations with one particular property owner. The property owners of the land for the canal reconstruction are all negotiating in good faith; there are just differences of opinions on certain things. He made clear that these public hearings are not discussions of evaluation, but for the necessity of public purposes. Because of timing issues, if the voluntary act of acquisition can not be negotiated, condemnation will be initiated.

  • Phillips went through the agenda on page 38-41.

  • George Porter: “Is this dispute more about money or the fact that they do not want to follow?”

    • Phillips explains how this is definitely about the evaluation issues that the Board proceeds with. Particularly, there is an issue on the replacement of the turnout. That is a concern to the property owners.

  • George Porter: “Will this acquisition be a drastic or subtle change?”

    • Phillips explains that he “will let the property owner speak with that.” This acquisition is more of a necessity of the project. As part of the Board’s offer though, the Board is required to address all potential impacts. Sometimes, the Board has to change the proposed acquisitions to better serve the property owners.

  • Tod Turley, Farmland Reserve: Because the Farmland Reserve property lies on the eastern side of the canal, he wants to understand how the Board can place a turnout on the side of the canal to facilitate the use of the water when it is available.

  • Tom Waddle: “Is there any opportunity for some of the white area growers to work with farmland to achieve that turnout? Have they considered that as well?”

  • The resolution/motion was approved.

Friant-Kern Canal Middle Reach Capacity Correction Project – Adoption of a Resolution Finding and Determining That the Public Interest, Convenience and Necessity Require the Acquisition of Certain Property for Public Purposes (Property: Tulare County APN: 302- 140-011, 319-140-001, and 319-140-028; Owners: FLS Enterprises LLC/Chivo Nuevo LLC)

  • Jason Phillips explains that this public hearing is the same thing as the Board has previously discussed, but there is a need to acquire some property for this project. He notes that the property owner(s) has been responsive. There is delay and the Board needs to proceed with the resolution of necessity.

  • Don Wright: “Is there an issue with the turnout with this property?”

  • George Porter: “Some of my problem with this is that my family is treated like this with High Speed Rail. There was no follow-up with my situation, which is why I am a little concerned with this. I want it done right which is why I want to see the negotiations continue.”

  • Phillips explains that the property owners’ responses have been very positive and cooperative with this project. 

  • The motion passes.

Action Items

Proposed FY 2022 OM&R Budget (Orvis/DeFlitch/Hickernell) – Review and request for approval to release for public review of the proposed FY 2022 OM&R Budget. 

  • Wilson went through the agenda on page 172.

  • Big changes:

    • The Middle Reach Project is not included in the FY ‘22 Budget. The reason for that is because there is a second budget cycle.

    • Increase in CPI for ‘22 assumptions. Increased to 5%. The general consensus in past meetings decided on that.

    • Airborne Snow Observatory- proposal: should be included in the 6345, Water Supply Coordination & Monitoring account and all Friant Division allocation.

    • Heavy Equipment Replacement.

  • We have a more realistic budget than when we  first started to talk about the budget.

  • Brock Buche: “In the packet it says that the Middle Reach Capacity was previously reviewed and approved. I am looking at the minutes at the March meeting and I am not sure which action is being referred to.”

    • “The middle reach project was reviewed at the April Meeting. It has not had final approval yet.”

  • Brock Buche: “By approving the budget today are we approving the middle reach budget capacity today?”

    • No, that is a separate item.

  • Kent Stephens: “Are we buying or capitalizing?”

    • Yes, the motion right now is outright acquisition but that is the selected choice as well.

  • The motion carries.

FKC Middle Reach Capacity Correction Project (Davis/DeFlitch) – Authorization to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with the County of Tulare and the Bureau of Reclamation regarding the design, construction, maintenance, and general impact of the Friant-Kern Canal Middle Reach Capacity Correction Project on County of Tulare facilities. 

  • Agenda on page 255

  • This is the last step to move forward on this project in response to the county facilities. Reclamations are still undergoing and there will be minor tweaking in the future. The request for approval today also includes granting some discretionary approval. “We are hoping to get the solicitors’ final comments perhaps next week so that we can wrap this up and get it on the Tulare County Board for one of their July meetings.”

  • Unknown Board Director: “If we’re doing this in Tulare County, are we also needing to do this in Fresno and other counties as well?”

    • “It is not part of the Middle Reach. The Middle Reach Project is only part of the Tulare facilities, thank God.”

  • Motion passes. 

General Updates & Reports

FKC Middle Reach Capacity Correction Project Activities and Schedule Update. (DeFlitch/Davis/Phillips) (10 minutes)

  • Doug Enjanet explains that there’s a lot of things to do with this project. The requests for proposals are due back on July 14. There was a small extension toward this date.  The Noticeable Reward and the Construction is still expected to happen by October 26th, 2021. That is still an aggressive schedule. There will be some utility relocation that we are still figuring out. One of the final environmental permits came in this past week; as an advancement that is good. Permits are almost completely retrieved, which are necessary to get work done.  30% of the Canal Replacement design has been completed so far. The design should get done by Spring of 2022. After the basic construction, canal tie-ins will happen by January 2024. Construction completion date is September 2024.

  • David A. Brown: “Is there any feedback on the bidding, commodities, and costs?”

    • There is no information regarding that right now.

    • In the process of it, it is clear the Reclamation will be rewarding the contract. As the process proceeds the bids will come in by a certain date. There will be a technical analysis and team that reviews that. “Throughout the process, we will not see what the bids are. There will be some time after the 14th before we see anything on the cost. I just want to provide the heads up.”

Settlement Agreement Regarding Transitional Overdraft Pumping and Anticipated Subsidence Damages/Repairs to the Friant-Kern Canal between FWA and the Pixley 4 Irrigation District Groundwater Sustainability Agency. (Phillips/Davis) (5 minutes)

  • Now this agreement is final after many discussions about this topic. Based on the modeling, that Pixley agency had done an eight percent impact on the canal which is still significant. The speakers explain that they want to make sure that they pursue the funding from them towards the project. They have a million and a half acre ft. in transitional water. The speakers say that they themselves have a fairly high comfort level in that they have this funding and ensure water. The difference in agreement is that they want a slightly longer period to make a lump sum because they want to make a prop 218. It will take 1-3 years. The longer it takes, they have to pay more so it is an incentive. If the Pixley agency and others do not meet the December 2024 deadline, then they will have to pay $23,444,000. 

  • “With that we have a few small GSAs that we will be pursuing even though they have a relatively small impact on the canal. We will keep everyone updated on the GSAs as they develop.”

Water Operations Update. (Buck-Macleod) (10 minutes) 

  • The speaker briefly went through the agenda on page 311.

External Affairs Activities. (Biering/Amaral) (10 minutes) 

  • The legislation placed a budget on the 14th. It is basically a placeholder budget. 

  • “We do feel optimistic that there will be some funding for the budget and project on the bill.”

  • The coalition has been working really well together. There will be an event that Senator Furtado has where a few of their team will be speaking on the budget and funding. The team is trying to report her on that.

  • There was a letter from Senator Feinstein and she included that in the packet which encouraged that $200 million was included in the budget for these projects for additional funding.

  • There will be an in-district event as well, the Senator wants to do something about water and highlight the project and that will be closer to the appropriations deadline.

San Joaquin Valley Blueprint Update. (Ewell) (15 minutes) 

  • Ewell explains that she was able to provide a presentation in Sacramento on Tuesday. The deputy regional manager recognized the importance of it and agreed to continue to work with it.

  • On outreach and engagement, the blueprint’s leadership has decided to take on a dedicated individual for community relation development, especially as they see the tie to drinking water and the necessity for clean drinking water. In the coming weeks, they will announce who that is and the efforts under way, what the goals are for the group.

  • The blueprint did send a letter about the drought to the governor and copied a lot of the legislators throughout the Valley. That included that letter for request of a mere term and effective response to the drought. It identified $785 M for the restoration of conveyance facilities, $50+ million for safe and reliable drinking water, $500 M for looking at multi-benefit recharge projects, as well as $20 M for further development and planning efforts.

  • The Blueprint is working on comments in working with sponsors of Assembly Bill 252, which is the land repurposing bill. They are working on comments and suggestions to better align that language in what they are doing.

  • “Lastly, the Five County Disadvantaged Community Drinking Water Feasibility Study– we do have a commitment from the Department of Water Resources to help fund the feasibility study. The project participants include self help, enterprises, leadership council, Friant Water Authority, Fresno State University, and Sustainable Conservation. Hopefully, we will get that feasibility study kicked off to look at the five counties.”

  • Tom: “There are opportunities for fill stations. When it comes to supplying water in bottles, I am fully against small bottles because it is wasteful which is called the Open Bar Problem.”

OM&R Report. (DeFlitch) (5 minutes)

  • “Don’t have much to report.”

  • The Cruise continues to maintain the facility and remove trash and weeds in the system.

  • The last piece is that the OM&R staff had an employee appreciation this past Friday.

San Luis Delta-Mendota Water Authority Update. (Orvis) (5 minutes) 

  • Orivs, the speaker, explains that in the last report, he has identified that the staff reviewed their calculations and updates.

  • The finance committee recalculated the rates and deferred it.

  • On the DMC Subsidence, they are moving forward with the Feasibility study and the Geotech Contractor is on board. They are working on a cooperative agreement with Reclamation. 

  • If anyone is looking at the detailed agenda report, there is an area in blue called the WO note. If one puts it in perspective, the rate recalculation is expected to go up by 6 dollars, an acre foot. 75% decrease.

  • On page 237-254 of the agenda, there are project updates that are really helpful to go over concise and informative reports.

Board Offsite and Agenda (Phillips) (15 minutes) 

  • None. 

CEO Report. (Phillips) (10 minutes)

He mentioned:

  • How he enjoyed employee appreciation month

  • “AB252– please let me know if that is near.”

    • Entails land retirement

    • Needs a little bit of work before the Board supports it

  • Congressman Valadao introduced the Needs Water Now Act

    • Phillips appreciates how he expedited the issues of water in the Valley.

  • “Johnny pointed out that there is an event on Fresno State”

  • I was happy to support the CA Water Alliance.

The meeting adjourned at 12:18 PM and lasted a total of 2 hours and 10 minutes for the open session.

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