ITEMS TO NOTE
Assignments to Standing Committees of the District Board of Directors
With the recent appointment of Ceil W. Howe, III, to the Westlands Water District Board of Directors, on February 8, 2021, Daniel Errotabere, President of Westlands Water District, announced revisions to the assignment of Directors to standing committees of the District Board of Directors. Director Howe replaced Director Stan Nunn on the Legal Affairs Committee and Director Ryan Ferguson on the Field Operations & Maintenance Committee. The Directors’ assignments to other standing committees will not change. To review the standing committee assignments, please refer to District Notice #637, dated February 8, 2021.
Annual Water Users’ Workshop
The Annual Water Users’ Workshop will be held Thursday, March 18, 2021, at 8:00 a.m., via Zoom. District staff will provide updates on District activities and other matters. See agenda attached.
2021-2022 Budget, Water Rates, Charges and Land-Based Charges Approved
At the February 16, 2021 meeting, the Board of Directors adopted the 2021-2022 Recommended Budget. The budget totals $242,974,600 and may be revised when the final water supply is determined. The budget provides funds for water and power purchases and the operations, maintenance, and administrative activities of the District. The budget also includes funding for coordination with other agencies and contractors on water supply matters, legal challenges to our water supplies, Westlands Water Quality Coalition activities, and the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.
The Board approved implementation of the water rates and charges, which were noticed to all land owners and water users on December 31, 2020. These rates are based on a 10% Central Valley Project contract water allocation and other delivered water supplies totaling 302,837 acre-feet. With this total supply, the District O&M rate is $74.01 per acre-foot. The adopted O&M water rate of $74.01 may require modification once the final CVP contract water allocation is determined. The Board also approved land-based charges for District water supply debt service, and extraordinary repairs of distribution system pipelines. A drainage service area land-based charge was approved on behalf of associated landowners for litigation activities. In addition, a Westlands Water Quality Coalition charge was approved to cover the costs associated with administering this program.
Water users should also note that approved Account Monitoring Charges are $13,241 each month when any billed overuse occurs, and $1,236 each month for those who are subject to Advance Payment Monitoring. Additionally, a new Account Monitoring Charge for meters running without a valid water order was approved and is $647.12 per lateral. Water users can avoid these charges by discontinuing water use when their water supply is exhausted, making timely payments and placing valid water orders in compliance with District regulations. Tools are available on the customer section of the District’s website to help water users determine when they will run out of water. Contact your Customer Accounting Technician if you need assistance with website data or to establish a secure login.
The District will impose a processing fee for parcel information requests or bank assurance letters. The fees will range from $78.57 to $539.73 depending on the number of parcels involved.
Effective March 1, 2021 the District will implement a USBR Capital Repayment Debt Service rate of $38.59 on all water delivered in the District. There is also a Well Reconfiguration fee of up to $7,700 per well site for SGMA.
The complete list of rates, charges and credits may be found on the District’s website. From the home page, click Water Management, then click Water Rates.
Projected 2021-2022 CVP Contract Allocation
The Bureau of Reclamation has not announced an initial 2021-2022 allocation for Central Valley Project (CVP) water service contractors. The District expects Reclamation will make an initial allocation in February. Based upon current hydrologic conditions, the initial allocation could be either 0% or 5%. The final allocation, typically made in April or May, will depend on the actual hydrology, especially in the watersheds that produce runoff in the upper Sacramento River basin.
2021-2022 Supplemental Water Application – Response May Be Required
The District is planning to acquire Supplemental Water from multiple sources for the 2021-2022 water contract year. 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.
If you would like to be part of the Supplemental Water program, please complete the enclosed agreement and return it to the Fresno Office by close of business on April 30, 2021, by one of the following means.
- Mail to: Westlands Water District, P.O. Box 6056, Fresno, CA 93703. You may also hand deliver the agreement to the District’s Fresno Office, at 3130 N. Fresno Street.
- Scan and email: email@example.com
- Facsimile to: (559) 241-6276
Agreements not received at the District or postmarked by the due date will not be considered timely. Late Requests will be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis, after timely requests are filled. Please direct questions to your Customer Accounting Technician at (559) 241-6250.
Westlands Water Quality Coalition Members
The 2020 Crop Year Farm Evaluations and Irrigation and Nitrogen Management Plan (INMP) Reports are due March 1, 2021. All submissions are required to be completed on the Coalition Website. The Coalition developed several tutorial videos to guide members through the submission process and are located on the Coalition website under the Member Outreach tab.
If you need assistance with submittals, resetting your password, or other Coalition items, please contact Zac Just at (559) 241-6245 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org or Antonio Bejarano at (559) 241-6242 or by email at email@example.com.
Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) Update
The next Advisory Committee (AC) and the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) meetings are scheduled for February 23, 2021. For more information regarding the AC and TAC, please contact Antonio Solorio at (559) 241-6244 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
2020-2021 Water Supply Update
The CVP currently has approximately 5.8 million acre-feet of water stored in northern CVP reservoirs; this represents 83% of the 15-year average. Shasta Reservoir storage is approximately 2.2 million acre-feet; 76% of the 15-year average. Federal storage in San Luis Reservoir is 454,000 acre-feet; 69% of the 15-year average. Jones Pumping Plant has operated at about 43% capacity this month.
2020-2021 Rescheduled Water
The District anticipates the amount of water that it can reschedule and carry over into the 2021-2022 contract water year will be about 135,000 acre-feet. The District does not anticipate a loss due to limits set by the Bureau of Reclamation in its Rescheduling Guidelines for San Luis Reservoir (Guidelines), referred to a “Cap Loss” under the District’s Rescheduling Policy.
San Luis Reservoir will not fill. According to the District’s Rescheduling Policy, the Rescheduling Period will extend to February 28, 2022. The Guidelines provide for a 1% storage loss factor for evaporation and system losses. This loss factor will be prorated to rescheduled water remaining in water user accounts on April 1, 2021, and each subsequent month, until the District delivers all rescheduled water. It is possible that due to water users’ use of other water types (e.g. 2021 Contract Water), that when the loss is prorated, the percentage of loss applied will be less than 1%. The District is reviewing all costs associated with this water and will be posting appropriate charges to affected water user accounts. If you have any questions, please contact Russ Freeman at (559) 241-6241.
FINANCE & ADMINISTRATION
Office Communication During COVID-19 Pandemic – Fresno Office Closed
Westlands Water District requests that water users conduct all District related business via phone and email, in lieu of visiting District offices. The District’s Fresno office is closed to the public during regular business hours. Water users can drop off payments and forms at the Fresno office through the drop box.
District staff will monitor the developments closely and seeks to maintain the safety of employees, water users, and the public. The District will provide notices to landowners and water users if District operations are impacted further by Federal or State recommendations to slow the spread of the virus. Please contact District staff if you have questions. Contact the main office by phone at (559) 224-1523, or email at email@example.com.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many District staff are working from home. Therefore, you will not receive paper statements from the District for the near future. To access your monthly Statement of Account and Water Activity Report, please login to your Westlands Water District web account, select Menu, then E-Docs. To ensure your payment is correctly applied to your account(s), always include your account number(s) on your check and/or the remittance stubs from the top section of your monthly billing statement(s).
The District also offers an Automatic Bill Payment (ABP) option for paying your monthly agricultural water bill. Participation in ABP will ensure your payment is always timely and avoids penalty, interest, or monitoring charges due to late payments. The ABP authorization form is available on your Westlands Water District web account by selecting Menu, then Forms, and Automatic Bill Payment Authorization. If you have any questions, please contact the Customer Accounting Department at (559) 241-6250.
OPERATIONS & MAINTENANCE
Groundwater Meter Installation and Well Modifications
District staff is currently installing District owned saddle mag meters on all groundwater wells within the District, in compliance with the meter installation schedule established in the Westside Subbasin Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP). Given the timeline for installing meters on all wells within the District, staff asks water users work closely with District field staff to ensure District owned meters can be installed.
Please inform the District when operation of a well has stopped, for District staff to arrange the meter installation. Communicating this information is critical to meeting the GSP schedule. As a reminder, well discharge modifications are the responsibility of the water user. For questions related to well modifications, please contact the Alex Young at (559) 884-2523 X122 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please report meter issues, and do not remove or replace District owned meters.
Advanced Notice of 2021-2022 Quinquennial Inspection and Repair Shutdown Schedule
The following table lists the District’s the general order and initial dates planned for pumping plant system inspection and repair shutdown schedule for Fiscal year 2021-2022. If you have questions or feedback regarding these shutdowns, please contact the District’s Maintenance Scheduler, Jimmy Weedin at (559) 884-2523 ext. 108.
|Week||Division Valves to be inspected||Pumping Plant|
|September 27, 2021||6L|
|October 4, 2021||PV3-0.2||PV3|
|October 11, 2021||7L & 7-0.5|
|October 11, 2021||PV8|
|October 25, 2021||27R|
|November 1, 2021||12R|
|November 15, 2021||13L|
|December 6, 2021||13RA & 13RB|
|December 13, 2021||2RA & 2RB|
|January 10, 2022||15R|
|January 24, 2022||36L|
|January 31, 2022||22R|
|February 7, 2022||24R|
|February 14, 2022||PV2-0.5||PV2|
|February 28, 2022||21R|
Grant Funding Opportunity for Groundwater Meters
The District received a grant to install meters on groundwater wells and is seeking wells not enrolled in the Groundwater Management Program (GWMP) to receive a District groundwater well meter. Installing a District-owned meter on wells in the District is a requirement of the Westside Subbasin Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP). Data collected from wells participating in this program will be subject to the grant funding terms and conditions. Voluntary participation in this grant funded meter replacement program could result in reduced meter costs to the well’s owner. Grant funding is limited. If you are interested or have any questions, please contact David Vang at email@example.com.
Low Interest Irrigation Equipment Lease Program
The District’s Expanded Irrigation System Improvement Program (EISIP) offers low interest loans at 3.1% to water users for the lease-purchase of irrigation system equipment. EISIP provides funding up to $130,000 towards the purchase of irrigation system equipment, the design of irrigation system and purchase of portable aluminum irrigation pipe, micro irrigation, linear move, and center pivots. Interested water users should contact Juan Pacheco at (559) 241-6228 or firstname.lastname@example.org to begin the application process. Additional information is also available on the District’s website.