Sunday, January 29, 2023

Unknown Ag Water Demand, Water District Consolidation Going Forward, Potter Valley Project—Highlights of the Redwood Valley County Water District Board Meeting

A waterway in Redwood Valley[Photo by afletch4141 via their Flickr account]

The RVCWD Board of Directors met on November 17, 2022, at 5:00 pm at the District Office, 151 Laws Avenue, Ukiah, with a Zoom option available. The following directors were present: KBree Klotter, Adam Gaska, Board President Tom Schoeneman, along with General Manager Jared Walker and Office Manager Liz Patton. Director Ken Todd was absent.

Ag Water Customers – Please Fill Your Ponds

There is still plenty of ag water available. There was a malfunction of a large customer’s ag water meter, and there was actually less ag water used than reported last month. The current ag water supply needs to be used by December 31, 2022. The weather forecasts are for another dry year, so this is an opportunity to fill ponds with water to use for frost protection next spring. Jared Walker would like to leave the ag water turned on through the end of the year, as it is labor-intensive on both District and vineyard personnel to keep turning on and off individual customers’ ag water. Bree Klotter requested that the staff compile responses to the ag customer survey for the Board to review. 

Director Adam Gaska reported that The Russian River Flood Control District is trying to work out a better system to determine how much ag water their customers are actually using. Some Flood Control customers have outstanding contracts for more water than they use every year, but there currently is no tracking system for the unused water. Redwood Valley would like access to purchase the unused water ag water. Gaska would like Flood Control to review the past five years of actual use compared to contracted amounts to get a better idea of the ag water supply.

Consolidation of Water Districts is Moving Forward

GM Jared Walker reported that a draft working document labeled “Agreement for Shared Management of Water Services” has been generated to guide the consolidation of the City of Ukiah, Redwood Valley, Millview, Willow, and Calpella Water Districts. The agreement also includes the Calpella Sewer System. The working document has been generated through ad hoc meetings of Jared Walker, Sean White, City of Ukiah Director of Water and Sewer, and Sage Sangiacomo, Ukiah City Manager. They created a draft document to include what they view as necessary issues, prior to being reviewed by attorneys. The City and each District have their own attorneys who will need to review and revise the document. It might be possible to have a consultant facilitate and expedite the legal review process. 

Director Bree Klotter reviewed the draft document and prepared an extensive comment and question list. Some of her points (condensed): 

  • How does the Calpella Sewer System fit in?
  • Is ag water going to be part of the consolidation?
  • What are the specifics of funding and financial liability of the consolidated entity and the individual districts?
  • Will the individual Districts need fewer directors and fewer individual meetings?
  • Will the City of Ukiah be the employer?
  • What is the process for hiring staff and appointment of directors?
  • Clarify the dispute resolution process.
  • Clarify the annexation process. 

The ad hoc meetings will continue. There is some urgency to get the consolidation done, so as not to miss the DWR grant funding window.

Ukiah Valley Basin Groundwater Sustainability Agency

The Ukiah Valley Basin Groundwater Sustainability Agency is now monitoring groundwater use in the Ukiah Valley Basin. The Upper Russian River Water Agency received an invoice for dues for fiscal year 2022-2023 in the amount of $68,750 from West Yost Associates, the General Manager of the UVBGSA. This amount is intended to be split on a pro-rated basis based on the number of service connections, among the Millview, Redwood Valley, Willow and Calpella Water Districts. The Board will contact West Yost to get more information about these dues and the period covered. Approval of the invoice was tabled for a future meeting.

DWR Small Community Drought Relief Grant Project

There is still no data to report on the monitoring wells on School Way. It takes a year to collect and analyze the data. No data to report on the helicopter with the airborne electromagnetic device to measure groundwater that was seen flying over Redwood Valley last summer. The reports are not expected in the near future. The Masonite property in Ukiah appears to be the best place for a municipal water well. 

Response to the Grand Jury Report

The Board approved sending the response to the Grand Jury Report that was discussed in previous meetings. One of the recommendations from the Grand Jury was that the District contact the U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Reclamation regarding the $7.7 million outstanding loan. Senator Dianne Feinstein’s office received a copy of the Grand Jury Report. Director Ken Schoeneman has been in communication with a senatorial aide, who counseled that the outstanding loan should not prevent the District from receiving other State or Federal money for consolidation efforts. Schoeneman prepared a draft letter to the Bureau of Reclamation, which will be further discussed at the next meeting.

Audit

Auditor Michael A. Celentano completed the audit for the District for the year ended June 30, 2022 and a copy was distributed to the Board members.  

Approval of Contract with Energea to Replace Solar Equipment at the Redwood Valley Water Treatment Plant

The Power Purchase Agreement with Energea was finally approved, after having been negotiated by the Board and Energea for several months. The price of electricity under the new contract will be twelve cents per kilowatt hour. 

Potter Valley Project

Board Member Ken Schoeneman and GM Walker were interviewed as a part of a Sonoma Water Agency project to gather information on Eel River water/Potter Valley Project funded by the California Department of Water Resources. The goal is to get 80-100 interviews. A report will be issued on the results of the interviews at some point in the future.

Next Meeting

December 15, 2022 at 5:00 p.m. The Board meets every third Thursday of the month.

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Monica Huettl
Monica Huettl
Mendocino County Resident, Annoying Horse Girl.

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