Join us to learn how local agencies, including Byron-Bethany Irrigation District, are planning for the sustainability of the region’s groundwater resources.
Details about an upcoming public meeting on June 29th are below.20230629_TracyWorkshop_Flyer_Final
Rick Gilmore, age 61, of Stockton, passed away on May 14th, 2023, of natural causes.
Rick was born June 25, 1961 in Paragould, Arkansas, one of two boys, his brother David passed in 1997. He is fondly remembered for his kindness and fierce loyalty, his wry sense of humor and for his willingness to stand up and fight for what he believed in. He is survived by his mother, Shirley Schultz, and nephews, Steven (Liz) Gilmore and Kevin Gilmore.
Rick was as a titan of California’s water industry. His steadfast tenacity and devotion to protect agriculture and multi-generational farmers made a significant, lasting impact not only in the Tracy area, but across the state.
He worked his way up from humble beginnings. In 1983, Rick joined the Byron-Bethany Irrigation District (BBID) as a ditch tender. Over the years, he rose through the ranks and in 1999 he became BBID’s General Manager. Rick served dutifully in that capacity until March 2022, when he went on a medical leave of absence. Rick was an encyclopedia of knowledge about BBID and could recite, from memory, anything from the intricate details of water policy, to the innerworkings of District facilities, to moments large and small from the District’s 100-plus year history. Rick was also very active in a number of water related organizations such as the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA), the San Luis Delta Mendota Water Authority, and others.
Rick was a beloved, larger-than-life figure in the local community and amongst his colleagues in the water profession. He cared deeply for his family, colleagues and the community BBID serves, and changed countless lives with his incredible energy, generosity, and support. Rick referred to the team of BBID’s consultants simply as “the BBID Family,” and hosted numerous dinners and holiday parties at District Headquarters with his partner, the late Kelley Geyer.
In the midst of historic drought in 2015, Rick was the steady hand that guided the District in its successful challenge of the State Water Board when it curtailed BBID’s water supply. BBID’s unprecedented, resounding victories before the State Water Board and Santa Clara Superior Court strengthened the oldest water rights in California to this day. It would not have been possible without Rick’s, leadership, courage, and intellect – and his belief that BBID would ultimately prevail despite incredible odds and enormous stakes.
That’s the kind of person he was – the kind of person who would see something all the way through, no matter how difficult; no matter how hard he had to work. People like Rick are unique and rare.
A memorial celebrating Rick’s life will be held June 1, 2023. Friends and loved ones are welcome to attend. Additional details are below.
Byron, CA (April 21, 2023) – On the heels of a record-setting winter and a historic Sierra snowpack topping 200% of normal in many locations, the irrigation season in the Byron-Bethany Irrigation District (BBID) service area is underway. The season began in early April, delayed by wet weather that continued well into spring.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) in April issued an updated water supply allocation of 100% for its South-of-Delta Central Valley Project (CVP) contractors, including BBID. The initial allocation was set at 35%, then was increased to 80% in March before the full allocation announcement. Continued snowfall and subsequent runoff this winter boosted Lake Shasta from 59% to 81% of normal, and San Luis Reservoir from 64% to 97%.
It was just one year ago that Reclamation issued an initial 0% allocation for South-of-Delta contractors amid ongoing drought and declining reservoir levels.
“We are grateful for Mother Nature providing much-needed relief for our CVP growers,” said BBID General Manager Edwin Pattison. “Four times in the last decade, South-of-Delta CVP contractors like BBID have received a 0% allocation, putting incredible strain on growers and ranchers in BBID’s CVP service area. Still, we hope that the sudden shift in hydrology does not distract from the very real need for regulatory reform,” Pattison continued.
“If these boom-or-bust weather patterns are our new normal, we must adapt,” said BBID Board President Tim Maggiore. “We must invest in our aging water systems and build new storage to capture water supplies when they’re abundant, for times when they are not.”
The District continues to work with its local, regional and state partners in exploring regulatory solutions that balance the needs of California’s cities, agriculture, and environment.
Additionally, Reclamation increased its allocation for its South-of-Delta Municipal and Industry (M&I) contractors to 100%, including those in the BBID’s service area.
Byron, CA (December 6, 2022) – “We regret to share that on Wednesday, November 30th, Byron-Bethany Irrigation District learned that longtime BBID employee Kelley Geyer passed away. The entire BBID family extends their deepest condolences to Kelley’s loved ones during this incredibly difficult time.
After joining the District in 2010, Kelley served as the Director of Administration, Assistant General Manager, and most recently as the Interim General Manager. Kelley was a beloved figure at BBID and in the local community. Her dedication, warmth and authenticity will be greatly missed.
We ask the community to respect the privacy of the Geyer family, and to please keep them in your prayers.” – Tim Maggiore, BBID Board President
Byron, CA (November 2, 2022) – “Byron-Bethany Irrigation District General Manager Rick Gilmore remains on a medical leave of absence. The District asks the community to respect his privacy as he focuses on his health. In the meantime, BBID continues to serve its customers.”
Contra Costa County (October 18, 2022) – The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced it will allocate $82 million for the expansion of Los Vaqueros Reservoir, a project that will improve regional water reliability and provide environmental benefits across the Bay Area and Central Valley. The Byron-Bethany Irrigation District (BBID) is participating in this project through its membership with the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority (SLDMWA).
“As we face an uncertain future, the District is committed to taking the necessary steps to secure water reliability for our growers,” said acting BBID General Manager Ed Pattison. “Participating in 21st-Century projects like the expansion of Los Vaqueros Reservoir – which is the result of collaboration, innovation and forward thinking – is a significant step toward building long-term drought resilience.”
A total of $210 million of federal water storage funding was allocated to seven projects in the western U.S., under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law approved by Congress in late 2021. The Los Vaqueros Reservoir Project is receiving the largest portion.
“BBID is grateful for the productive partnership between the Bureau of Reclamation and the Los Vaqueros Joint Powers Authority,” Pattison continued. “This funding will help the project move forward and demonstrates that our federal partners recognize the importance of supporting improved water management for California’s people, its food supply and its environment.”
The project was previously approved for $477 million from California Prop 1 funds and $136 million for construction in federal funding.
When complete, the capacity of Los Vaqueros will be increased from 160,000 acre-feet to 275,000 acre-feet. New and upgraded conveyance facilities will be added to provide comprehensive benefits to water supply reliability and flexibility, the environment, and recreation. Construction is expected to begin next year and continue through 2030.
Byron, CA (August 25, 2022) – The Byron-Bethany Irrigation District (“BBID” or “District”) has an important update for its customers: as of this posting, the District’s water rights are not curtailed, meaning water deliveries will continue as normal.
Back in July, the State Board approved and adopted a revised Emergency Regulation regarding water use and curtailment in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta watershed. It was anticipated the revised Emergency Regulation would lead to new curtailments reaching BBID’s post-1914 right, serving the West Side Service Area, as well as BBID’s pre-1914 senior water right, serving the Byron and Bethany service areas.
However, BBID’s water rights were not included in a new round of curtailments announced this week. In an update, the State Water Resources Control Board said, in part:
“After consultation with and the concurrence of the Delta Watermaster, and consistent with the technical assumptions regarding water unavailability in the Legal Delta outlined in methodology documents released on June 27, 2022, curtailments remain in place for certain rights within the Legal Delta. Although the methodology indicates that water is unavailable for appropriative water right holders in the Legal Delta with a priority date of 1908 or later, curtailments in the Legal Delta will remain unchanged pending further discussion between the Division of Water Rights and the Office of the Delta Watermaster.”
Earlier in July and in the span of less than one week, the State Board issued, then rescinded curtailment with little notice and no explanation.
Before the State Board rescinded the last curtailment order, BBID’s legal team filed a request for a Temporary Restraining Order, arguing the order was issued without due process and is not supported by adequate evidence. BBID also argues the methodology used by the State Board to determine water unavailability in the Legal Delta is fatally flawed, and cannot support curtailment of BBID’s water rights. Since last summer, and on numerous occasions, the District’s team of legal, engineering, and hydrology experts offered comments and possible solutions to the State Board to refine the methodology and improve its accuracy. Despite these comments, and those made by other Delta stakeholders, significant problems remain with the methodology and it remains unsuitable for determination of curtailments in the Delta.
As this evolving situation unfolds, the District will continue providing regular updates to ensure customers are informed. In the meantime, BBID continues to secure alternative water supplies and vigorously defend its water rights.
Byron, CA (July 25, 2022) – Due to recent State Water Resources Control Board (State Board) actions, the Byron-Bethany Irrigation District (“BBID” or “District”) is advising its customers of potential future curtailment of the District’s water rights, which may come this summer.
At its regular July meeting, the State Board approved and adopted a revised Emergency Regulation regarding water use and curtailment in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta watershed. The revised Emergency Regulation will now be considered by the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) before it becomes law. If enacted, the revised Emergency Regulation will likely lead to another, deeper round of curtailments in mid-August. We anticipate such curtailments reaching BBID’s post-1914 right, serving the West Side Service Area, as well as BBID’s pre-1914 senior water right, serving the Byron and Bethany service areas.
Earlier this month and in the span of less than one week, the State Board issued, then rescinded curtailment with little notice and no explanation.
Before the State Board rescinded the last curtailment order, BBID’s legal team filed a request for a Temporary Restraining Order, arguing the order was issued without due process and is not supported by adequate evidence. BBID also argues the methodology used by the State Board to determine water unavailability is fatally flawed, and cannot support curtailment of BBID’s water rights. Since last summer, and on numerous occasions, the District’s team of legal, engineering, and hydrology experts offered comments and possible solutions to the State Board to refine the methodology and improve its accuracy. Despite these comments, and those made by other Delta stakeholders, significant problems remain with the methodology and it remains unsuitable for determination of curtailments in the Delta.
The District’s TRO is still pending before a Sacramento County Superior Court, and the hearing on it is scheduled for next week—July 29. If the judge grants BBID’s request, future curtailments this summer are unlikely. This, however, depends on the relief the judge provides. The District commits to providing additional updates with any developments in this rapidly evolving situation.
In the meantime, BBID continues to secure alternative water supplies and vigorously defending its water rights.