The Oakdale Irrigation District will be affected by state’s Water Use Efficiency Senate Bill 7, known as SBx7-7, which puts regulations on agricultural water measurement. The OID Board of Directors discussed the impacts the law will have on OID water rates at the June 19 regular meeting.
According to information about the bill, agricultural water suppliers will be required to submit an agricultural water management plan to the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) by Dec. 31, 2012. OID General Manager Steve Knell said that this is a “ratcheting down” approach by the state to move irrigation districts to measurement and volumetric pricing and that it’s the state’s attempt at conservation through legislative actions.
There are two main points of the bill that affect OID. One is that it pushes Ag water suppliers toward volumetric pricing, which means paying for the amount of water used, and the second is that there will be a higher standard of water measurement at the farm gate with 90 percent accuracy. Knell stated that accurate gate measurements are required with volumetric pricing.
The board and OID staff discussed the costs involved and had questions about what would be equitable to the OID constituents.
Knell said that implementation would require more staff time, data management, meter installations, electronic gadgets, replacement and maintenance, and so on. OID will also have to upgrade many canal gates. He said the district couldn’t absorb those costs and that they have to be part of the new water rate to constituents.
Prior to the board adjourning the meeting for closed session, director Frank Clark stated that they were in closed session discussion of terms for a water transfer (sale) to the City of Brisbane. Draft terms were presented in February and have been in negotiation. Clark said he is opposed to it but it is unclear at this point how the board will vote on the matter or even when that will be. Knell added that there are multiple closed session discussions before the matter goes before the public. Also on the closed session agenda was labor negotiations, a dirt purchase, and litigation issues.
For more details about the volumetric pricing topic and other discussion items, see the June 20 issue of The Leader.
The next regular meeting of the OID Board of Directors will be at 9a.m. on Tuesday, July 3 in the OID boardroom, 1205 East F.