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Water rights on GDPUD’s mind

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From page A1 | October 14, 2013 | 15 Comments

Locking in the district’s water rights came up at the Oct. 8 board meeting of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District (GDPUD).

Interim General Manager Gary Hoffmann reported that in November, 2010, the district sent a letter to the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) requesting the issuance of Water Rights Licenses for two water rights’ permits. He noted that so far, the SWRCB has not responded to the request.

“That’s three years the state has not responded to our request,” said Director Norm Krizl. “That’s customer service.”

Hoffmann added that the lack of response doesn’t affect the district’s ability to use the water or its rights to the water but getting a license is the last step in the process of securing those rights.

General Counsel Barbara Brenner asked about the expiration date of the permits, saying she assumed the letter was sent before the permits expired. She said the issue will probably sit there unnoticed unless the district becomes more proactive, given that the SWRCB is something of a “black hole.” A California Environmental Quality Act review will probably be involved and SWRCB will need to do an evaluation including a site visit and ensuring all the district’s water is being put to beneficial use.

“The fact that they haven’t responded within three years is mind-boggling to say the least,” said Krizl. “This is a very big deal and we shouldn’t sit and wait to hear from them. We need to ask them what we need to do to get this moving. This trumps all this other stuff. If we can’t formalize our water rights, we run into some jeopardies down the road,” Krizl said, noting that pursuing the district’s water rights is timely given the state’s plans to send more water south.

Hoffman added that it was common for it to take years to go from a permit to a license.

But Brenner reiterated that if the district is putting all its water to productive use, there was no reason to wait and they should push for the license.

Interim General Manager Gary Hoffmann also reported that the California Department of Public Health conducted an inspection of their facilities in February with their findings issued in August. The report noted the continuing non-compliance with the requirement to reduce Giardia by 99.9 percent and viruses by 99.99 percent at the Auburn Lake Trails Water Treatment Plant. Hoffman said the existing filtration process is not approved by CDPH, so it is not given any credit for Giardia, cryptosporidium or virus removal. The report also noted inadequate reporting of the number of backflow prevention assemblies in the distribution system and overdue monitoring of the raw water sources for naturally occurring fluoride.

Upgrades to the required billing system have been put in place which allow customers to pay their bills online through the district’s Website. Customers can make electronic payments either by automatic withdrawals from their checking accounts or by using a credit card. Additionally customers can sign up for automatic bill payment and e-mail billing notifications. The changes went into effect Oct. 10.

New meter reading equipment will also be used for the first time in October. The devices allow automatic downloading of the water use data directly into the district’s computer billing system.

Hoffmann reported the district is still waiting for Psomas to submit a proposal addressing the costs and benefits of potential design changes to the Auburn Lake Trails Water Treatment Plant Retrofit Project. Psomas is the engineering firm that designed the plant. At the same time, district staff are working with the California Rural Water Association in preparing a loan application to the California Department of Public Health before the Dec. 20 deadline.

GDPUD is expected to be the recipient of an annual payment as a result of the relicensing of SMUD’s Upper American River Project. SMUD was required to pay El Dorado County $590,000 within 30 days of the date the license was issued, which was June 6. GDPUD is entitled to $90,000 of that amount. To date, GDPUD hasn’t received its share of the relicensing fee and the El Dorado County Water Agency has yet to respond to the district’s inquiry regarding the payment. The payout period is expected to be over 50 years.

A second round of interviews were held for the position of office manager. Hoffmann said he expects to make a hiring decision this week or next.

GDPUD ended August with cash and investments of $8.3 million, which includes restricted and unrestricted funds.

The board approved a contract with ECORP Consultants for $32,320 annually for stream gage monitoring and reporting services, a $7,200 annual contract with Holdrege & Kull for groundwater monitoring quarterly reporting, and a purchase of $30,000 in materials from Reed and Graham for slope repairs.

The board approved the contracts without seeing them, although in the past, directors Kathy Otermat, Maria Capraun and Bonnie McLane had repeatedly criticized the previous general manager for the same thing.

Hoffmann reported the waterline relocation project near Cat Bird Hill Lane has been completed, allowing Caltrans to proceed with planned roadwork.

The next regular meeting of the board will be on Nov. 12 at 9 a.m. at district headquarters.

Contact Dawn Hodson at 530-344-5071 or dhodson@mtdemocrat.net. Follow @DHodsonMtDemo on Twitter.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 15 comments

  • M JonesOctober 14, 2013 - 6:33 am

    If you want correct facts listen to the tape. Just one of the incorrect issues...The Board did not approve contracts as Ms Hodson made a remark about "The board approved the contracts without seeing them, although in the past, directors Kathy Otermat, Maria Capraun and Bonnie McLane had repeatedly criticized the previous general manager for the same thing." These were RFP's bidders accepted to create a contract with. There are no contracts yet signed only approved to create. Reading of the contracts notes were from the previous contracts Also another issue, Director Otermat's comments about the water rights was left out and only the rant of Krizl was printed. Krizl stated the same thing over and over. This was a waste of the public's time. The issue was addressed and direction was given to the AGM but Krizl just had to get his 20 minutes of verbiage in after the direction was given to the AGM. As for the $90,000 it is being held by the county not the Water Agency. But I am sure by now most the readers understand the views and comments of Ms. Hodson are just personal opinion not factual.

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  • EvelynOctober 14, 2013 - 6:38 am

    M. Jones: Thank you for the clarification(s). I was hoping you would comment, for you seem particularly reliable. You have saved me having to listen to the tape!

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  • EvelynOctober 14, 2013 - 6:41 am

    . . . as an aside, I've often wondered who actually WRITES these articles. Though Dawn attends the meetings, perhaps the propaganda in the reportage is left to someone else?

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  • Big SisterOctober 14, 2013 - 12:56 pm

    Evelyn, it is Mike Raffety who writes the slanted articles to protect the good old boys. My sister works at the Mt Demiceat and it does not go unnoticed that Raffety is all over Dawn to get the headlnes and the spin just right. It's ok I'd Raffetty knows the staff is in to him. Someone took a video if him clamorous all over Dawn when she came back from a GDPUD meeting!

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  • EvelynOctober 14, 2013 - 3:25 pm

    Big Sister: Thanks for the confirmation. In which case, apologies to Dawn for all the resulting flack she has received. But it's a real pity that this happens, because it lends itself to viewing with skepticism much else that passes for "journalism". The media powerfully molds public perceptions. BOTTOM LINE: Never trust the "news" as a conveyor of truth. Always seek alternative sources and/or analyses. Surely the Founding Fathers, when crafting the First Amendment's Freedom of the Press, didn't mean that the press should be free to lie to us. Rather, the press was the object of this 1st Amendment protection because it was seen as essential to an informed public being able to choose wisely. The fact that the press lies to us, both by omission and by commission, is a gross betrayal.

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  • Dawn HodsonOctober 14, 2013 - 3:38 pm

    Just for the record, I write the articles. The editors sometimes change the title or edit the text, but I write 98 percent of what shows up.

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  • EvelynOctober 14, 2013 - 3:44 pm

    Dawn: Would you care to comment on M. Jones' corrections?

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  • EvelynOctober 14, 2013 - 3:48 pm

    The GDPUD recording for October 8th is not yet up. When it is, I'll listen and then comment.

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  • EvelynOctober 18, 2013 - 2:21 pm

    The recording for GDPUD's October 8th meeting, now up, is HERE.

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  • R. KeenanOctober 15, 2013 - 11:24 am

    So if Dawn is writing 98% of the articles how can she explain her blatant bias AGAINST the female Directors? And any tidbit out of Krizls mouth is reported? I can't wait to hear what Director Otermat said re: the GM's report on the water license and why Dawn ignores her comment? I am a regular listener of GDPUD recordings and any objective listener will find Dawn definitely is not objective and does not do any justice to the reader or the Mt. Democrat.

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  • EvelynOctober 15, 2013 - 11:38 am

    R. Keenan: It's hard to say what might result from a determinedly biased editor's 2%. Doesn't take much to change meaning and import. Count me as a minor holdout in deciding who's to blame. (Previously I had heard that the editor can't wait to get his hands on Dawn's report.) Unfortunately for the reader, it doesn't matter where the distortion comes from. Much damage is done to our understanding and the paper's credibility.

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  • R. Keenan - Pilothill, CAOctober 17, 2013 - 10:39 pm

    Evelyn, My personal opinion is that it doesn't matter if it's Dawn Hodson or Mike Raffety behind the GDPUD biased reporter, the fact that publisher Richard Esposito not only tolerates it but agrees with it, has caused me to cancel my subscription. And they wonder why their circulation continues to decrease? I predict their continued biased reporting will be their downfall.

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  • Daniel SilvaOctober 17, 2013 - 10:42 pm

    Dawn, please reply to Evelyn's question. Or is it too uncomfortable for you? No reply is very telling, my dear.

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  • Little RickyNovember 05, 2013 - 2:38 pm

    Why are Non Customers so concerned with Gdpud? Evelyn,Big Sister

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  • EvelynNovember 05, 2013 - 4:16 pm

    Being the customer of a particular public entity is not a sine qua non for holding an interest in the governance of that entity. My particular interest in GDPUD began with THIS meeting (probably illegal) called on short notice for the purpose of "lynching" Kathy Otermat, at that time Board Treasurer.

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