Trump Administration Advances Plan to Increase San Luis Reservoir Storage

The following news release was originally issued by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority (Water Authority). The Byron-Bethany Irrigation District is a member agency of the Water Authority.

san luis reservoir and b f sisk damSACRAMENTO, Calif. – Today, the Bureau of Reclamation sent Congress the final feasibility report for the B.F. Sisk Dam Raise and Reservoir Expansion Project. This marks an important step forward in returning water supply reliability to south-of-Delta farmers, local communities, and wildlife refuges.

“Reclamation has worked hard to make this important project for California’s water supply a reality,” said Commissioner Brenda Burman. “Dam safety improvements at B.F. Sisk are gearing up; now is the time to take advantage of this opportunity and increase water supply in San Luis Reservoir—a win-win for the many that benefit from San Luis Reservoir water.”

Reclamation and the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority partnered to investigate adding 10-feet to the crest of B.F. Sisk Dam while implementing dam safety modifications. The additional space would be used to store water that could be delivered to south-of-Delta water contractors and wildlife refuges. This water would be used to meet existing contractual obligations and not serve any new demands.

The B.F. Sisk Dam Raise and Reservoir Expansion Feasibility Report was prepared consistent with pertinent study authorizations, and pursuant to the requirements of Reclamation Safety of Dams Act of 1978, as amended by Public Law 114-113, and the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act of 2016. Results of the analyses indicate the project to be technically, environmentally, financially and economically feasible.

“While there is still work to be done,” said Regional Director Ernest Conant, “Reclamation and our partner, the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority, are very pleased to witness this critical milestone for the project.”

“San Luis Reservoir plays an important role as a lynchpin of California’s water system. The reservoir’s water storage capacity is increasingly important to respond to a changing climate. Increasing water storage is a critical component of building water resilience,” said Executive Director of the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority Federico Barajas. “We appreciate the collaborative partnership with Reclamation and are pleased to see the Feasibility Report be transmitted to Congress and look forward to advancing this important project.”

Background
B.F. Sisk Dam is a 382-foot high earthfill embankment located on the west side of the Central Valley, about 12 miles west of Los Banos. The dam is over 3 miles long and impounds San Luis Reservoir, which has a current total capacity of around 2 million acre-feet.

A final supplemental environmental impact statement was prepared for the project under the National Environmental Policy Act and released on Dec. 18, 2020; the report is available here: https://www.usbr.gov/mp/nepa/nepa_project_details.php?Project_ID=44425.

Update: State-of-the-Art Test Reveals Critical Pipeline in Good Condition (VIDEO)

Byron, CA (December 16, 2020) – A new report released by Byron-Bethany Irrigation District (BBID) details the condition of a critical District pipeline following a cutting-edge comprehensive test.

The report, prepared by BBID’s engineering firm, Hazen & Sawyer, reveals the Mountain House Raw Water Pipeline – the sole source of water to the community of Mountain House – is in good condition.

Watch the full update below!

Report Highlights: 

  • The results reveal the success of the proactive maintenance that BBID has been performing on the MHRWP for the last 20 years.
  • Considering the aggressive soils, cyclical operation, high operating pressures, and turbid water handled by the pipeline, less than 1% of pipe segments were found to have any anomaly.
  • Generally, the pipeline was found to be in good condition.

Read the full report here.

 

 

Public Review Sought for Groundwater Sustainability Plan Sections

The East Contra Costa Groundwater Sustainability Working Group is preparing a Draft Groundwater Sustainability Plan (Plan) and seeks input on Sections 3 and 4 of the Plan. The East Contra Costa Groundwater Subbasin is a medium priority subbasin, as determined by the State, and requires preparation of a Plan under the 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). The Byron-Bethany Irrigation District (BBID) is a member of the Subbasin.

The Groundwater Sustainability Agencies received comments on Sections 1 and 2 of the Draft Plan during the summer of 2020. We are now asking for input on Sections 3 and 4 that discuss groundwater conditions, including a Hydrological Conceptual Model and historical, current and projected water supply. Sections 3 and 4 are found at the link below, or email groundwaterinfo@dcd.cccounty.us and request the documents. Comments are due on Friday, January 15, 2021.

Link to document and other information: https://www.eccc-irwm.org/about-sgma

For additional SGMA inquiries, to provide more detailed comments, or to be included on the email list, please send an email. Or, click here for more information about how BBID is working to sustainably manage groundwater.

District Holds First Board Meeting After Historic Merger

Byron, CA (September 29, 2020) – Two century-old irrigation districts in the Tracy area have officially joined forces. In a landmark moment Tuesday, the Byron-Bethany Irrigation District (BBID) held its first regular board meeting since consolidating with the West Side Irrigation District (WSID).

In the early 1900s, the two districts kept handwritten board meeting minutes. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, this meeting was held virtually via Zoom.

“This is the culmination of several years of work to bring these two districts together, for the benefit of our growers,” said BBID General Manager Rick Gilmore. “In today’s challenging regulatory climate, this consolidation will improve water reliability, strengthen water rights, and provide greater financial flexibility to keep our water system performing well into the future.”

In June, the San Joaquin Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) voted unanimously in favor of consolidating the districts. The former 6,000-acre WSID service area West of Tracy was incorporated into the existing 30,000-acre service area of BBID, establishing a single 36,000-acre district.  Former WSID Directors Tom Pereira and Jack Alvarez have become BBID Board Directors in newly created Divisions XIII and IX, respectively. The former boundaries of WSID are now known as the West Side Service Area. All former WSID employees have become BBID staff.

“This is a great step forward that will keep our farmers in business,” said Jack Alvarez, former WSID Board President and new BBID Board Director. “We are stronger together, with a greater ability to manage costs and provide reliable water deliveries.”

The merger has been in the works since 2016, when both districts first voted to move forward and BBID began managing WSID operations. Landowners expressed their strong support at a public meeting held at the outset of the process. Last year, LAFCO adopted a final Municipal Service Review (MSR) and Sphere of Influence (SOI) prepared by both districts, which includes an extensive review of financial information, infrastructure, and services provided.

BBID previously merged with the Plain View Water District in 2004.

USBR: Trump Administration Advances Plan to Increase Water Reliability in Bay Area and Central Valley

The following news release was originally posted by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. Byron-Bethany Irrigation District (BBID) is a partner in the Los Vaqueros Reservoir Expansion Project.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Bureau of Reclamation has released the Final Feasibility Report, which documents potential costs and benefits of the Los Vaqueros Reservoir Expansion Project. As part of a continuing effort to increase storage capability throughout California, Reclamation and the Contra Costa Water District worked together on Phase 2 of the project to increase the capacity from 160,000 acre-feet up to 275,000 acre-feet and adding new conveyance facilities.

In October 2018, President Trump issued the Memorandum on Promoting the Reliable Supply and Delivery of Water in the West. Reclamation, together with its partners, is acting on that call and taking action to improve water supply reliability throughout the state.

“We are pleased to partner with CCWD on this smart expansion project that would create additional storage capacity in an existing footprint,” said Commissioner Brenda Burman. “This is a win-win for the Bay Area and the Central Valley Project.”

This expansion could provide increased water supply reliability and operational flexibility to the Central Valley Project. In addition, the expansion would deliver water supplies to various Bay Area municipal and industrial water providers, as well as federally-recognized wildlife refuge areas and irrigation districts in the San Joaquin Valley.

“This is a significant milestone for the Los Vaqueros Reservoir Expansion Project and project partners,” said CCWD Board President Lisa Borba. “We are grateful for our partnership with Reclamation as we move forward to make this important investment in water storage a reality.”

“As a potential beneficiary of the expanded storage and improved conveyance facilities, the Del Puerto Water District commends both Reclamation and CCWD’s efforts to bring LVRE to this important milestone, said Del Puerto Water District General Manager Anthea Hansen. Water infrastructure, especially expanded storage capacity and improved connectivity between different regions of our state, are foremost on the minds of water managers in California. I am truly impressed with the excellent work of the CCWD team and look forward to hopefully being a part of this much-needed project, not only for my region but for the health and prosperity of our wonderful state.”

The LVE is a joint investigation between Reclamation and CCWD authorized by Congress in 2003. The objectives of the expansion are to develop water supplies for environmental water management, increase water supply reliability for water providers within the San Francisco Bay Area, and improve the quality of water deliveries to municipal and industrial customers. The Final Feasibility Report was transmitted to Congress on August 11.

The Final Feasibility Report is available on Reclamation’s website at https://www.usbr.gov/mp/vaqueros/.

BBID Launches New Public Financing Authority

Byron, CA (August 12, 2020) – In a collaborative effort to help public agencies, cities and counties secure funding for public purpose projects, the Byron-Bethany Irrigation District (BBID) has partnered to launch the California Municipal Public Financing Authority (CalMuni PFA or Authority).

The CalMuni PFA was established to issue tax-exempt and taxable conduit revenue bonds. The Authority will help lower costs and streamline the execution of critical infrastructure projects, bolstering water efficiency and reliability across California. BBID is one of two charter members of the newly formed Joint Powers Authority (JPA), which held its inaugural Board meeting last Tuesday.

“With the formation of the CalMuni PFA, special districts, cities and counties now have easier access to critically important, cost-effective funding mechanisms that will help support water reliability and resilience,” said BBID General Manager Rick Gilmore.

The CalMuni PFA financing team boasts decades of experience working with municipal banks and lenders, ensuring the financing process is completed expediently and public agency resources are used in the most efficient manner.

The purposes the CalMuni PFA may serve include financing or refinancing of capital improvement projects or working capital projects; the purchase of property or equipment; liability or other insurance, or retirement programs; or facilitating Members use of existing or new financial instruments and mechanisms.

The Independent Cities Finance Authority is the second charter member. The statewide JPA has dozens of member cities across the state and focuses primarily on health care and affordable housing projects in California.

Reclamation Announces 60-Day Comment Period for Draft Contracts for Central Valley Project South-of-Delta Contractors

The following news release was originally posted here on the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation website:

FRESNO, Calif. – The Bureau of Reclamation announced today ongoing congressionally mandated contract conversions pursuant to the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WIIN Act).

Today’s release includes draft repayment contracts from the Central Valley Project south-of-delta contractors for a 60-day public comment period. These are 15 of over 80 repayment contract conversions requested by federal Central Valley Project contractors.

The contractors include Banta-Carbona Irrigation District, Byron-Bethany Irrigation District, Contra Costa Water District, Del Puerto Water District, Eagle Field Water District, Mercy Springs Water District, The West Side Irrigation District, West Stanislaus Irrigation District, Westlands Water District – Assignment from Oro Loma Water District, Fresno Slough Water District, James Irrigation District, Patterson Irrigation District, Reclamation District No. 1606, Tranquility Irrigation District, and Tranquility Public Utility District.

Reclamation plans to release additional draft repayment contracts with south-of-delta contractors, as applicable for public review in 2020. Reclamation will continue to release more draft repayment contracts throughout the year. Section 4011 of the WIIN Act directs Reclamation to convert water service contracts to repayment contracts upon a contractor’s request and authorizes prepayment of outstanding CVP construction costs.

Under Section 4011, full repayment is due within three years of the contract conversion. Both the prepayment and accelerated repayment of the contracts will result in the federal government being repaid well in advance of the original repayment deadline. These dollars will be placed in an account to fund much-needed storage projects. Increasing storage capacity will allow Reclamation’s projects to capture additional water in wet years to help meet the water needs for project purposes in dry years.

Written comments on this contract must be received by close of business on August 31, 2020 and sent to Erma Leal, South Central California Area Office, Bureau of Reclamation, 1243 N Street, Fresno CA 93721 or faxed to 559-262-0371 or emailed to eleal@usbr.gov.

Check the following links to learn more about WIIN Act CVP contract conversions: All negotiated contracts are available at: https://www.usbr.gov/mp/wiin-act/negotiated-conversion-contracts.html.

The entire list of contract conversion requests can be viewed here: https://www.usbr.gov/mp/wiin-act/docs/the-wiin-act-9d-conversion-tracker.xlsx. View contract and WIIN Act information at https://www.usbr.gov/mp/wiin-act/. Contact Erma Leal for more information at 559-262-0350 or eleal@usbr.gov or (TTY 800-877-8339).

Public Input Sought on Groundwater Sustainability Management Plan

The East Contra Costa Groundwater Sustainability Working Group, including the Byron-Bethany Irrigation District (BBID), is preparing a Draft Groundwater Sustainability Plan (Plan) and seeks input on the first two sections of the document.

The East Contra Costa Groundwater Subbasin is a medium priority subbasin, as determined by the State, and requires preparation of a Plan under the 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).

Sections 1 and 2 of the Draft Plan discuss the purpose of the Plan, the sustainability goal, the planning area, current and historical water and land uses, and information on groundwater wells in the East Contra Costa Groundwater Subbasin. You may comment on the document without attending the meeting. Sections 1 and 2 are found at the link below, or email groundwaterinfo@dcd.cccounty.us and request the document. Comments are due on July 20, 2020.

Link to document and other information: http://tinyurl.com/ECCGSP-1.

To hear more about the Plan, an online public meeting will be held on Thursday, July 9, from 3:30 to 5:15 p.m.

You may register to attend here: http://tinyurl.com/ECCGSP-mtg1.

For additional SGMA inquiries, to provide more detailed comments, or to be included on the email list, please send us an email.

BBID is part of two groundwater subbasins, the Tracy Subbasin and the East Contra Costa Subbasin. Click here for more information.

The meeting workbook and initial announcement are below.

ECC_Outreach_Meeting_Workbook_Final2

Newspaper Notice 15June2020 - Final

Virtual Public Workshop Planned for Sustainable Groundwater

Local public agencies, including the Byron-Bethany Irrigation District (BBID), are inviting the public to learn more about how agencies are working together to sustainably manage the region’s groundwater.

The virtual workshop will be held on Tuesday, July 21st, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Click here to register: https://tinyurl.com/y9jmarho.

Representatives from local agencies will be on-hand to discuss the planning process as part of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, or SGMA. Click here to learn more.

TracyWorkshop1_FullFlyer_FINAL

Historic Water District Merger Approved

Stockton, CA (June 11, 2020) – In a historic vote, a consolidation of two of the oldest irrigation districts in the Tracy area was approved Thursday. The San Joaquin Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) voted unanimously in favor of consolidating the Byron-Bethany Irrigation District (BBID) and the West Side Irrigation District (WSID).

“By combining forces, we will improve water reliability for our customers, as well as greater financial stability and improved efficiency,” said BBID GM Rick Gilmore. “We thank LAFCO for its consideration throughout this process, culminating with today’s affirmative vote.”

Resolutions previously approved by BBID and WSID call for the 6,000-acre WSID service area west of Tracy to be incorporated into the existing 30,000-acre service area of BBID, establishing a single 36,000- acre district. The former boundaries of WSID will be known as the West Side Service Area.

The merger has been in the works since 2016, when both districts first voted to move forward. Leaders from BBID and WSID formed an ad-hoc committee, carefully studying financial data and touring facilities dating back decades. Both agencies began in the early 1900s serving agricultural customers. Ultimately, leaders decided a merger would bring substantial benefits in the form of stronger water resources and water rights. Landowners expressed their strong support at a public meeting held at the outset of the process.

Last June, LAFCO adopted a final Municipal Service Review (MSR) and Sphere of Influence (SOI) prepared by both districts, which includes an extensive review of financial information, infrastructure, and services provided.

Following Thursday’s vote, per LAFCO procedure, a protest hearing will be held in 45 days. Unless more than 50% of the registered voters living in the affected area provide a written protest, the merger will become official.

BBID previously merged with the Plain View Water District in 2004.