2017-2018 Water Supply Update
The Bureau of Reclamation’s allocation to Central Valley Project (CVP) south-of-Delta agricultural water service contractors increased from 65 to 100 percent for the 2017-2018 water contract year. In its allocation announcement, Reclamation also established a Rescheduled Water cap of 150,000 acre-feet (AF). The cap will limit the District’s share of Rescheduled Water into the 2018-2019 water contract year to about 100,000 AF (or about 0.2 AF per irrigable acre).
The CVP currently has approximately 10.3 million acre-feet of water stored in northern CVP reservoirs. This represents 121 percent of the 15-year average. Storage in Shasta Reservoir is approximately 4.4 million acrefeet; 116 percent of the 15-year average. Federal storage in San Luis Reservoir is approximately 964,000 acre-feet; 128 percent of the 15-year average. Jones Pumping Plant is currently operating at about 88 percent of capacity and pumped approximately 47,000 acre-feet thus far in April for the CVP and approximately 87,000 acre-feet for the State Water Project. The current estimated rate for 2017-2018 CVP Contract water is $187.98 per AF.
2017-2018 Agricultural Water Allocation Applications – Response May Be Required
The District will allocate the balance of the CVP contract water, approximately 0.90 AF/irrigable acre, to water user accounts on or about May 1, 2017. Water users that do not wish to receive additional CVP contract water have until April 28, 2017 to adjust their 2017-2018 Agricultural Water Application and Purchase Agreement(s). The District is accepting revised Allocation Applications until April 28, 2017. Water Users from Pre-Merger, Merged, and Annexed lands may increase or decrease their requested acre-feet on the revised Applications.
The District anticipates that there may be a surplus of 2017-2018 CVP Contract water this year. Water users with Annexed lands that rely on groundwater for irrigation are strongly encouraged to consider applying for CVP contract water in lieu of pumping groundwater.
Irrigation Water Available for Leased District Cropland
Due to an anticipated surplus of water, the District is waiving Section 8(a) of its Terms and Conditions for Irrigable Agricultural Leases, for the 2017 water contract year only. Accordingly, the District will permit irrigation of District Cropland using any water and will accept Agricultural Water Allocation Applications from lessees of District Cropland, for which the lessee has paid the incremental rent to irrigate the Cropland. Allocations to District Cropland will only occur after all requests submitted by Pre-Merger, Merged, and Annexed lands have been fulfilled.
Rescheduled Water Update
The District rescheduled 213,850 acre-feet of water stored in San Luis Reservoir. The San Luis Reservoir filled on March 9, 2017, and the Bureau of Reclamation began tabulating foregone pumping which will be the basis for the amount of loss applied to remaining water at sustained drawdown of San Luis Reservoir. District staff currently estimates that the sustained drawdown could begin in the latter half of May and that foregone pumping to date totals about 130,000 acre-feet.
Water users are reminded that the District’s Rescheduled Water Policy provides that any loss of Rescheduled Water will be prorated based on acre-feet, in the following order and manner:
- Any remaining Rescheduled Water in excess of the Acreage Based Cap.
- Water rescheduled by the District.
- Remaining Rescheduled Water.
- Delivered Rescheduled Water in excess of the Acreage Based Cap.
- Delivered Rescheduled Water within the Acreage Based Cap.
In response to some questions received about these loss provisions, water users should note that the Acreage Based Cap of 0.5 acre-feet per irrigable acre is not secure from loss. Also of note, the policy states water users shall pay all water costs that the District incurs, the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority O&M rate and any applicable District rates. Further, the rescheduling fee is not refundable if water is rescheduled and lost.
Section 215 Water Update
Section 215 water continues to be available for use within the District. District staff anticipates that Section 215 water will be available until the end of the Rescheduling period which could be the latter half of May. Water users interested in applying for Section 215 water should refer to Notice No. 499 for eligibility requirements and the 2017-2018 Agreement to Accept and Purchase Section 215 Water. The current estimated Section 215 water rate is $131.53 per acre foot.
2017-2018 Supplemental Water – Response May Be Required
The District is planning to acquire supplemental water from multiple sources for the 2017-2018 water contract year. It is estimated that the delivered cost to water users will be in the range of $300 – $600 per acre-foot. The District anticipates that a partial allocation of Supplemental Water to water users could occur in late spring, but the majority of the Supplemental Water is currently planned to be allocated in the summer.
When the allocation of Supplemental Water occurs, the quantity allocated to a water user’s account is a proration based upon the water available at that time and the number of irrigable acres associated with accounts that have outstanding requests. When an account’s request has been fulfilled, it will no longer receive allocations, and the irrigable acres associated with that account will not be factored into subsequent allocations. Accordingly, water users with relatively high per acre requests will receive the bulk (increment above the pro-rata amount) of their request later, if water is available.
Advance payment for acquisition costs of the water is required at the time of allocation, while operation and maintenance related costs will be billed when the water is used. The District will notify water users regarding the allocation advance payment when acquisition costs are more certain. The allocation advance payment will apply toward the delivered Supplemental Water rate. If an advance payment is delinquent for 30 days or more, the District may withdraw the water made available for allocation to a water user and reduce the water user’s outstanding request by the same amount. The water will be allocated to water user accounts as Project water or non-Project water (if available), allowing Full-Cost rates to be applied as required by Reclamation law.
If you would like to subscribe to the Supplemental Water program, please complete the agreement, available in Notice No. 497, and return it to the Fresno Office by close of business on May 1, 2017. The agreement may be mailed to Westlands Water District, P.O. Box 6056, Fresno, CA 93703, but agreements not received at the District by the due date will not be considered timely (regardless of the postmark). You may also hand deliver the agreement to the District’s Fresno Office at 3130 N. Fresno Street. Requests received after the deadline will receive a lower priority for allocations and will be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis. Please direct questions to your Customer Accounting Technician at (559) 241-6250.
Kings River Water Supply Available
Westlands is pumping Kings River water from the Mendota Pool through Lateral 7 and conveying it to the San Luis Canal. We anticipate that up to 20,000 to 30,000 acre-feet of water supply will be conveyed under this program. The Westlands Board elected to ratably allocate the Kings River water to water users with remaining requests for CVP Contract water at an estimated rate of $127.60 per acre-foot.
Groundwater and Irrigation System Management Program Water Rates
Due to increased rates, water users participating in the Groundwater and/or the Irrigation System Management Programs will see a 50 percent increase in their water costs as compared to 2016. Depending upon individual circumstances, Groundwater Management Program costs could range from $85 – $300 per acre-foot and Irrigation System Management Program costs could range from $15 – $45 per acre-foot.
Board of Directors Election
The terms of four members of the Board of Directors expire in 2017, and an election to fill these positions will be held October 24, 2017. The positions have four-year terms through noon on December 3, 2021. The election will be conducted as an all-mail ballot election and there will be no polling places.
To qualify for the position of Director, the person shall be over the age of 18 years and be either 1) a holder of title to land in the District, 2) the legal representative of the holder of title to land in the district in accordance with California Water Code Section 34030, or 3) a representative designated by a holder of title to land in the District if the holder has filed with the District written evidence of that designation.
Forms for declarations of candidacy for eligible candidates desiring to file for the office will be available from the District’s Secretary at 3130 N. Fresno Street, Fresno, California 93703 on or after July 3, 2017. The forms must be filed with the Board Secretary either in person or by certified mail no later than 5 p.m. on July 28, 2017. Filing by certified mail is authorized, but the forms must reach the Secretary by 5 p.m. on July 28, 2017.
In the event there are no candidates or an insufficient number of candidates for these positions, and a petition calling for an election is not filed within the time period prescribed in Section 10515 of the Elections Code, appointment to the Director positions will be made as prescribed by law.
For further information, call the District’s Secretary at the Fresno office at (559) 224-1523.
Assessment Equalization Hearing
The Board of Directors will hold an equalization hearing to establish the District’s 2017 Repayment Contract Benefit Assessment on Tuesday, May 16, 2017, at 1:00 p.m., at the District’s Fresno Office, 3130 N. Fresno Street, Fresno, California. Copies of the 2017 Assessment Book are available for review at the Fresno and Five Points offices. The Assessment Book contains the valuation of all District lands and is based on the benefit assessment valuation schedule approved by the Board at its February meeting.
Landowners who question their land valuations and wish to petition the Board must submit a written application for a reduction of the land valuation on or before May 10, 2017. Landowners must include the reasons supporting the claim for reduction and an opinion of the proper valuation. For additional information, please contact Deborah Tuggle at (559) 241-6212.
The 2017-2018 Land-Based Charges were mailed out on March 8, 2017 with the first installment due March 27, 2017 and the second installment is due on September 25, 2017. The first installment is now delinquent; please contact Deborah Tuggle at (559) 241-6212 for a payoff amount.
Unforeseen Disruptions of Water Service
As set forth in the District’s Terms and Conditions for Agricultural Water Service, please be reminded that at times, unforeseen circumstances may arise that prohibit or delay delivery of water to water users’ accounts. District staff will use its best efforts to provide water service in the manner and at the times requested including use of emergency repairs. The District asks for your patience as staff works to ensure repairs are made within a reasonable amount of time. Hostile behavior toward District staff is not acceptable and will not be tolerated. If you feel you are not receiving satisfactory service or have any questions, please contact Richard Lopez at (559) 241-6230.
Water Ordering Procedures for Pumps Enrolled in District Power Programs
The District’s Groundwater Management Program and Temporary Diversion Program provide Western Area Power Administration energy to temporary diversion pumps, groundwater pumps, and drip system booster pumps. The District’s Terms and Conditions for Agricultural Water Service apply to water delivered under the Groundwater Management and the Temporary Diversion programs. Accordingly, water users are required to place their water orders three days in advance if they are delivering water through a pump enrolled in a District power program. It is critical that water users comply with the ordering procedures to ensure that the District’s request for power to operate these facilities is accurate. Failure to place timely “on” or “off” orders will result in inaccurate power requests and, therefore, increase power costs which are then passed on to program participants.
Groundwater Sustainability Plan Update
The District will form a technical group made up of interested land owners to review and discuss the development of the District’s Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP). If you are interested in participating in the described group that will focus on the technical side of the District’s GSP development, please contact Kiti Campbell at (559) 241-6226 or email@example.com. The District’s SGMA activities are on our webpage.
Westlands Water Quality Coalition Members
Westlands Water Quality Coalition (WWQC) members were required to complete the 2016 Farm Evaluation Survey and the 2016 Nitrogen Summary Report by March 1, 2017; both reports are required to be submitted using the WWQC web based system at 4Creeks website. It is important to include all parcels in your farming operation regardless of ownership. You are required to provide owners with copies of any forms submitted on their behalf. Questions or comments, contact Charlotte Gallock at (559) 241-6244, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Debra Dunn at (559) 241-6242, email@example.com.
Lands Available for Lease
The District continues to have a number of parcels available for lease in Fresno and Kings Counties. For a list of available land, please contact Cork McIsaac of Agriculture Industries, Inc. at (916) 372-5595 or (800) 822- 1415.
Accepting Reservations for Bollibokka Fishing Club
The Bollibokka Fishing Club is continuing to accept reservations for this fishing season. The District’s March 23, 2017, Notice No. 498 contains additional information for anyone interested in taking advantage of this opportunity. The club’s season runs from the last weekend in April through November 15, and there are still a number of weeks available at both the Clubhouse and the Way Station. The normal reservation period is Wednesday through Sunday, but reasonable accommodations to this schedule will be made, if possible. Please contact Michael Caranci of The Fly Shop at (800) 669-3474 (office), (530) 222-3572 (fax), michael@theflyshop (email), or by mail at 4140 Churn Creek Road, Redding CA 96002. For additional information, visit the Club’s website.
Holiday Office Closure & Water Ordering Procedures
District offices will be closed on Monday, May 29, 2017, in observance of Memorial Day. The affected water ordering deadlines are as follows:
|For Water Use On||Place Water Order By|
|Saturday or Sunday – May 27 or 28||Friday, May 26, 9:30 a.m.|
|Monday or Tuesday- May 29 or 30||Friday, May 26, noon|
The emergency telephone number for after hours and holidays is (559) 224-1523.