California WaterFix Decision
At the September 19, 2017 Board of Directors meeting, the Westlands Board voted by a margin of seven to one to not participate in the California WaterFix. The District has consistently stated that it would not obligate the farmers it serves to billions of dollars in debt without reasonable assurances that the project could produce reliable, affordable water supplies. The full text of the Westlands press release can be read in the link here.
2017-2018 CVP Water Supply Update
Reclamation 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. The District forecasts that due to Reclamation’s Rescheduled Water cap, approximately 316,000 AF of water allocated to users might not be delivered prior to March 1, 2018, and the remaining water in excess of the cap will be lost. You are encouraged to log-in to your Westlands Water User account to track supply and plan your use for the remainder of the water contract year to avoid loss of allocated water. You are strongly encouraged to consider delivering surface water in-lieu of pumping groundwater. If the District does not deliver enough surface water to recover its Operations and Maintenance (O&M) costs, then water users may be charged O&M on lost water.
The CVP currently has approximately 8.76 million AF of water stored in northern CVP reservoirs. This represents 145 percent of the 15-year average. Storage in Shasta Reservoir is approximately 3.5 million AF; 182 percent of the 15-year average. Federal storage in San Luis Reservoir is approximately 729,000 AF; 271 percent of the 15-year average. Jones Pumping Plant is currently operating at 80 percent of capacity and pumped approximately 160,000 AF thus far in September. The current Agricultural Water Rate for 2017-2018 CVP water is $160.18 per AF.
Revised Due Date for Land-Based Charges
The due date for the September installment of the 2017-2018 Land-Based Charges has been postponed to November 1, 2017. A revised Land-Based Charge statement will be issued by the District at least 15 days prior to the November 1, 2017 due date. Notice No. 517 (dated September 20, 2017), explains the change to land-based charges as a result of the new 2017 Proposed Benefit Assessment. The District’s new benefit assessment includes costs previously recovered through the long-term water supply land-based charges and the O&M land-based charges. District policy remains in effect for late payments; a penalty will be added to unpaid charges on the day following the payment due date. Please contact Deborah Tuggle at (559) 241-6212 for additional information about Land-Based Charges.
District Election Information
The District will conduct an all-mail election for the Board of Directors on October 24, 2017. Ballots will be mailed to each District landowner beginning Monday, September 25, 2017. For additional assistance or information, refer to Notice No. 509 (dated August 10, 2017), or contact Deborah Tuggle (559) 241-6212 or Lucinda Anderson (559) 241-6218.
Expanded Irrigation System Improvement Program (EISIP)
The Board of Directors approved the use of Public Purpose Program (P3) Funds available from the Power and Water Resources Pooling Authority (PWRPA) in a cost sharing program for funding irrigation system improvements under the District’s Expanded Irrigation System Improvement Program (EISIP). To qualify for the funds, water users must install a system on lands served by a facility enrolled in the Groundwater Management Program, Irrigation System Management Program or Temporary Diversion Program. The cost share program will fund up to 35% or $45,500, whichever is less, of an irrigation system lease/purchase. The balance of the system’s cost will be funded under and in conformance with the EISIP (i.e., water users must offer 160 acres of non-annexed land as security and provide a 20% down payment followed by 4 annual payments amortized at 3.1% per annum). Interested water users should submit an EISIP/P3 application. For additional information on applying for this program, please contact Nicole Branum at (559) 241-6235.
The District is offering a cost share program to water users who pay for irrigation evaluations. The amount of the reimbursement is set at 25 percent of the invoice amount or $500, whichever is less, and water users must be willing to submit copies of paid invoice(s) and evaluation report(s). Interested water users should contact Israel Sanchez at 559-241-6237 for further details.
ASR Pilot Project Tours
The District is currently performing an Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) Pilot Project to determine the feasibility of using ASR to temporarily store water supplies. ASR injects surface water through a well and into an aquifer for storage, which is later recovered for use. The District has been conducting tours of the ASR Pilot Project and continues to invite interested water users to the tour. If you are interested in attending, please contact Kiti Campbell at 559-241-6226 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Westlands Water Quality Coalition Members
Westlands Water Quality Coalition (WWQC) members are required to attend at least one outreach event annually by September 30th . Members can attend WWQC workshops in person or view them online. Online videos are available for viewing by clicking on this link in the Member Outreach section of the member dashboard. If you have any questions or need assistance accessing the online videos, please contact Nicole Branum at (559) 241-6235 or by email at email@example.com.
Conclusion of Summer Hours of Operation
Effective September 15, the Five Points Office and Field Offices (including TFO, HFO and the Corporate Yard) have concluded their summer hours of operation and have now resumed regular hours of operation which are Monday through Friday from 7:00 AM to 3:30 PM. The hours of operation for all other District offices remain unchanged which are 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday. The emergency telephone number for after hours and holidays is (559) 224-1523.
Lease of District Owned Land
The District currently has land available for lease in Fresno and Kings Counties. For a detailed list of available land, please contact Cork McIsaac of Agriculture Industries, Inc. at (916) 372-5595 or (800) 822-1415.