General Manager Robert McDonald shared “good news” with the Carpinteria Valley Water District (CVWD) Board of Directors at the April 10 meeting. According to McDonald, Southern California Edison (SCE) granted “permission to operate” in connection with the Siemens Solar Panel project and the contractor has begun mobilizing to turn on the solar system.
McDonald also reported that the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, approved a full allocation for remaining months of this Water Year (WY) based on above normal rainfall and high intensity storms. The total allocation is 25,714 acre-feet of water supply available through Sept. 30.
Additionally, McDonald noted that the Department of Water Resources (DWR) officially approved its proposed revisions to the groundwater basin boundary to match the scientific boundary. “The next step is to finalize the priority the district is in, which is in draft,” said McDonald, who expects to hear back from DWR in the next month as to whether the district priority is “high” or “medium.”
Several items were up for approval at the meeting, however, the most heated discussion revolved around a proposed $10 million CCWA Reserve Fund. The purpose of this fund is to provide a stabilization fund for payments to the DWR when there is a difference between budgeted State Water Expense and actual expense at the Central Coast Water Authority (CCWA). According to McDonald, CCWA required a $10 million mid-year budget adjustment in 2018 to address volatility between estimates and actuals caused by DWR.
The CCWA proposed that the Reserve Fund be established by CCWA and have its members contribute to that fund, which McDonald initially recommended, but later withdrew his recommendation in favor of a Reserve Fund established and managed by CVWD for its share of the CCWA Reserve Fund, about $512,000. Board member Shirley Johnson noted that some of the other CCWA members are not going along with CCWA’s Reserve Fund because they want their own reserve fund. According to Johnson, “this fund that CCWA keeps for us is making interest … and 90 percent of the law is who has the cash in hand.”
The board unanimously approved McDonald’s updated recommendation to not participate in CCWA’s DWR Reserve Fund and to revise CVWD’s Reserve Policy to create a special reserve account that is similar to the one proposed by CCWA.
The board also approved updates to the District Procurement Policy and a refund of $397.70 to a customer due to a water leak. Additionally, the board gave its support to Judith Ishkanian and Spencer Brandt (Alternate) for appointment to the Special District (SD) Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) in the May 10 elections.