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OID, Leaders Find Common Ground

POSTED August 4, 2010 2:37 a.m.

A little cooperation could go a long way toward helping meet needs and cut costs.

At the Aug. 3 regular meeting, the Oakdale Irrigation District Board of Directors heard a report from General Manager Steve Knell, which included information about a meeting that was held amongst the heads of OID (Knell), the hospital (John Friel), the school district (Fred Rich), and the city (Steve Hallam). The meeting was to discuss the mutual sharing of resources and searching for ways to best operate in these difficult economic times. Knell said they found that they had a number of things in common.

He noted that some of the options or possibilities visited were through different types of cost sharing and mutual aid such as employee sharing, i.e. human resources with certifications and special training. He noted that with the deep budget cuts, some of these organizations can’t afford to keep some highly qualified personnel, but that sharing in an employee would reduce costs to the entities and still keep people employed. He also said that other possibilities were the shared use of specialized equipment, as well as other ideas. Knell said that the group plans to meet again.

Also in reports, Knell reviewed a tracking sheet of the 2010 water budget with the board. The report showed estimated water transfers, Tri-Dam diversions, the water allocation, evapotranspiration, as well as charts.

The district transferred 43,500 acre feet of water to interests that included Stockton East Water District, VAMP plus difference water, and exchange contractors at an average cost of $87.09 per acre foot, with total estimated revenue at over $4.5 million. Actual Tri-Dam diversions from October of 2009 through September of 2010 are currently at 135,360 acre feet, with the rest of August and September to go.

As of Aug. 1 with the water allocation, after transfers, district water use, and remaining deliveries, the district estimates there could be approximately 46,000 acre feet of water left over, or, “uncommitted.” Knell said that this is an anomaly, but explainable. He also said that the district hopes to get a Warren contract and be able to store the water behind New Melones.

Also in the water budget report, it showed that even though this was a cooler year, because of winds, evapotranspiration in the district was only down slightly from last year.

Knell additionally told the board that the “chaining” of canals in the district to remove plant debris is going well. He added that chaining clogs the “trash racks” or screens downstream, which requires sometimes labor-intensive cleaning but the first pass of chaining is expected as the worst with subsequent chainings expected to create less debris at collection racks. The district has been chaining due to the expectation of not being able to continue purchasing the chemical herbicide called Magnacide.

There was also discussion amongst the board members and staff about pending and introduced legislation and the protection of the district’s water rights.

The next regular meeting of the OID Board of Directors will be at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 17 at the OID boardroom, 1205 East F.

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