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OID Plans Trip To D.C.

POSTED February 16, 2011 1:02 a.m.

The Oakdale Irrigation District Board of Directors unanimously approved a proposal to send two directors and appropriate staff to Washington D.C., possibly in April, to meet with congressional members or staff. The action came at the Feb. 15 regular meeting.

OID’s water attorney Tim O’Laughlin recommended that OID meet with 21 specific congressional representatives to educate them on current water issues the district is facing. OID has a connection with a lobbyist who works with a number of water districts and that lobbyist will help facilitate the setting up of meetings with the various congressional members and staff.

OID General Manager Steve Knell said that irrigation districts are typically poor lobbyists on issues. He pointed out that OID won’t be asking for money, but asking for help on issues. Director Jack Alpers commented that he thought it was fruitful when OID made a trip to Washington D.C. a few years ago. Knell added that nobody talked about predation issues in California until OID and its sister district South San Joaquin Irrigation District went to Washington D.C. and talked to congressional representatives about it with a video presentation.

In discussion items, the board had some discussion about the upcoming Tri-Dam meeting and Tri-Dam issues in general. The board members made comments and asked questions about what some Tri-Dam staff members are actually doing and a lack of communication from Tri-Dam leadership. Director Steve Webb said he’d like to know how many employees are used to operate other, similar facilities, as there has been a request to hire personnel at Tri-Dam.

Also in discussion items were the benefits of the North Side Regulating Reservoir that went into service in March 2010. Comparisons were made to the South Side Robert Van Lier Regulating Reservoir and how it runs consistently at 3.6 percent to 3.9 percent of diversions-over-demand, or “over orders” for water. Prior to the north side reservoir’s construction, the north side had a 9.4 percent diversions-over-demand. The early numbers since the reservoir’s construction are showing in the 3.5 percent range for diversions-over-demand.

Knell said that six percent difference results in approximately 4,800 acre feet of water being saved annually as a result of the reservoir.

“I’m encouraged by the numbers I see there on the North Side Regulating Reservoir,” he said.

The next regular meeting for the OID Board of Directors will be at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, March 1 at the OID boardroom, 1205 East F.

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