BDCP, Statewide Perspectives Take Center Stage in Bakersfield

ACWA Regions 6 and 7 came together recently for a member forum at Kern County Water Agency in Bakersfield to discuss the water bond, Delta issues and impacts on agencies south of the Delta. Nearly 50 people, representing water districts and agricultural interests in the San Joaquin and Central Valleys attended the membership forum.

A big thank you to Kern County Water Agency for hosting the forum and to Provost and Pritchard for sponsoring the luncheon.

The Kern County Water Agency was created in 1961 and serves as the local contracting entity for the State Water Project. The agency participates in a wide scope of water management activities, including water quality, flood control and groundwater operations to preserve and enhance Kern County's water supply. You can visit them here.

Provost & Pritchard provides engineering solutions to municipalities and other public agencies for their infrastructure needs.Some of their current projects include the Clovis Water Line and Storage Tank and Friant Road Widening. View more ongoing projects from Provost and Pritchard here.

ACWA Executive Director Tim Quinn welcomed everyone to the forum and provided a summary of the bond and the California Water Finance Task Force. During the luncheon, he gave a quick summary of some of the administrative changes being made in the association.

Keith Coolidge, executive manager for external affairs, Delta Stewardship Council, gave a brief overview of the council’s Delta Plan. He outlined the progression of the many drafts of the plan and the current status, commenting that the plan is “8 % water supply and 92% contention.”

Brent Walthall, assistant general manager, Kern County Water Agency; Ara Azhderian, water policy advisor, San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority; and Rich Atwater, executive director, Southern California Water Committee, discussed the water exporters’ perspective.  “All members rely on some portion of water from the Delta. An earthquake will have catastrophic effects on the Delta, and we need to plan for it,” Azhderian said.

Former State Sen. Mike Machado, now executive director of Delta Protection Commission, and Melinda Terry, manager of the Northern Delta Water Agency, concluded the afternoon panel on Delta perspectives. “All the services in the Delta can be relocated but the impact to the community is inescapable,” Machado said.  The panel highlighted issues of burden vs. benefits of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan and the definition of coequal goals. 

As ACWA Region 7 chair, I really enjoyed the Q and A and hearing comments from members like Scott Hawthorne, who stated, “BDCP process is broken, and separating out those that judge the science from those that conduct the science is critical when making policy decisions.” 

All the presentations from this forum are available on-line here.