Potpourri: SJV Water on Berkeley radio, Cali streams tapped out (?), the Creel has landed and more

February 6, 2020
by Lois Henry
Lois Henry

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In the interest of not inundating your email inboxes with a bunch of posts, I’m offering several small newsy water bits in a single take. You are WELCOME!

Berkeley gets a Kings earful
SJV Water CEO/Editor Lois Henry (that’s me!) was interviewed by Vic Bedoian, a freelance Central Valley radio reporter, for KFPA 94.1 FM in Berkeley.

Topic de jour was the brewing fight over the Kings River. The Semitropic Water Storage District in Kern County has filed a petition and application with the State Water Resources Control Board to have it nullify two floodwater licenses held by the Kings River Water Association and award those licenses to Semitropic.

The Kern water district contends that Kings River Water Association has forfeited the licenses by allowing floodwater to leave the basin. Kings River Water Association folks say that while some floodwater does leave, they have been using more of it over time for groundwater recharge and will need all of it to comply with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.

Though directors on the State Board typically prefer to have locals hash out such fights, the two sides had already negotiated for two years before filing with the state.

Listen to Vic’s story here. And read SJV Water’s full story here.

Tapped out
I sent this out in a newsletter a couple weeks ago. I came across this cool interactive page on the State Water Resources Control Board website showing which streams in California are considered fully appropriated, meaning they have no more available water and wrote  “Spoiler alert – it’s pretty much all streams.” Turns out that was prescient so I thought I’d go ahead and quote myself.

A Kern County water district manager who spoke on a panel at the ACWA (Association of California Water Agencies) conference earlier this month used the same fully appropriated streams info to make the point that there basically aren’t any “new sources” of water to increase supplies for San Joaquin Valley aquifers subject to SGMA.

That leaves reducing demand as the best way to reduce aquifer overdraft. And that means taking farmland out of production.

Getting the band back together?
Curtis Creel, whose official retirement date as General Manager of the Kern County Water Agency was Dec. 7, has landed a job at the Hallmark Group in Sacramento, as a consultant.

His official title is Director of Water Supply Management. He will oversee water supply and mangement strategies for Hallmark’s clients.

Creel joins a growing cadre of former Kern County Water Agency employees at Hallmark. Other agency ex-pats include former General Manager Jim Beck (who hired Creel at the agency back in 2004), Harry Starkey, who worked for the agency years ago and most recently was General Manager at West Kern Water District and Taylor Blakslee, a former agency exec assistant.

And finally…
A friend sent me this NY Times piece about the American Journalism Project and I felt it was perfect to share.  The American Journalism Project is trying to save independent journalism in a world that has abandoned newspapers in alarming numbers. Local journalism provides desperately needed eyes and ears on the government entities that have the greatest impact on regular people.

Unless you live one of those secretly glamorous, danger-filled lives Hollywood makes movies about, I’m pretty sure the local school board, planning commission and, now (!), groundwater sustainability agency will reach out and touch you and your pocket book way more often than you’ll tangle with the NSA.

Independent journalists can keep you informed about how those agencies are spending your hard-earned cash.

And how cool is this, you’re reading the work of a LOCAL JOURNALIST RIGHT NOW!

Support for SJV Water is easy, donate, buy a subscription, join for free and pass it on via social media, emails or even actual face-to-face conversation. It’s all good!

SJV Water is an independent, nonprofit news site dedicated to covering water in the San Joaquin Valley. Get inside access to SJV Water by becoming a member.

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Maven’s Notebook is an excellent daily accounting of California water happenings statewide.