MINUTES OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
ALAMEDA COUNTY FLOOD CONTROL AND WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT
August 19, 2020
The following were present:
DIRECTORS: SANDS FIGUERS
ANGELA RAMIREZ HOLMES
MICHELLE SMITH MCDONALD
DIRECTORS ABSENT: NONE
ZONE 7 STAFF: VALERIE PRYOR, GENERAL MANAGER
OSBORN SOLITEI, TREASURER/ASSISTANT GENERAL MANAGER - FINANCE
CAROL MAHONEY, INTEGRATED WATER RESOURCES MANAGER
AMPARO FLORES, PRINCIPAL ENGINEER
COLLEEN WINEY, ASSOCIATE GEOLOGIST
TAMI CHURCH, ASSISTANT WATER RESOURCES PLANNER
ALEXANDRA BRADLEY, COMMUNICATIONS SPECIALIST
DONNA FABIAN, EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT
COUNSEL: DAVID ALADJEM, DOWNEY BRAND
Item 1 -
Roll Call and Report Out of Closed Session
The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. and roll call was taken. All Board Members were present.
Item 4 -
Citizens Forum - none
Item 5 -
The minutes of July 15, 2020 and August 5, 2020 were approved with the August 5, 2020 minutes revised.
Item 6 -
Director Palmer moved to approve Item No. 6a and Director Ramirez Holmes seconded the motion. Item No. 6a was approved by a roll call vote of 7-0.
Resolution No. 20-48 Agreement with Castro Valley 1 Inv, LLC for Mitigation Credit in the Stanley Reach Project (Item 6a)
Item 7 -
Cost Share Agreement for Los Vaqueros Reservoir Expansion - Amendment No. 2 Presentation
Amparo Flores, PhD, Principal Engineer, gave a presentation on the Los Vaqueros Reservoir Expansion project that involves an enlargement of the reservoir from 160,000 acre-feet to approximately 275,000 acre-feet. It will also involve new diversion and conveyance facilities. Dr. Flores stated that the benefits to Zone 7 are storage of State Water Project water and also to gain new emergency conveyance if there is an outage in the Delta. Dr. Flores said the total project cost is currently estimated at $1.1 billion with the State's share of up to $459 million through the Proposition 1 Water Storage Investment Program Grant. The reservoir project is scheduled to be fully operational by 2030.
Director Figuers asked what the cost would be per-acre foot coming from that project compared to our other sources of water. Dr. Flores responded that it is hard to compare the various options because it provides different benefits. In particular, the cost calculation for Los Vaqueros is a bit complicated because of the unique ways the different participants are going to be using it. Some of the latest estimates from last year are around $1,500 per acre-foot of water, which is not the purchase cost, but the delivered cost.
Director Smith McDonald asked about the funding source and Valerie Pryor, General Manager, responded that the money will come out of Fund 310.
Director Ramirez Holmes thanked Dr. Flores and reminded the Board that one of the lessons learned from the last drought was that we had a need for additional local storage and there are few opportunities to accomplish this. Director Ramirez Holmes moved to approve the item and Director Gambs seconded the motion. Item No. 7 was approved by a roll call vote of 7-0.
Resolution No. 20-49 Cost Share Agreement for Los Vaqueros Reservoir Expansion - Amendment No. 2 (Item 7)
Item 8 -
Preliminary Lake Use Evaluation for the Chain of Lakes, Addendum 1 - 2020 Update Presentation
Colleen Winey, Associate Geologist, presented the Preliminary Lake Use Evaluation for the Chain of Lakes. Ms. Winey mentioned that at the June Board Meeting, the Board requested staff reevaluate the criteria used to determine lake suitability and make sure we are using criteria that are exclusive to Zone 7's operations. As a result, staff removed all criteria that were subjective or based on assumptions of what an outside agency might deem suitable for a secondary use of the lakes.
Ms. Winey reviewed the key assumptions used for the original analysis, and again for this update. Ms. Winey added that all the lakes were evaluated in an as-is condition. This includes the assumption that all facilities included in the surface mining permit reclamation plans would be built as part of reclamation. No major modifications would need to be made to the lakes for them to be suitable for a particular use. Also, any identified primary uses would take priority. For example, the prescribed primary use of lake I as the key groundwater recharge facility would not change from this designation.
Tami Church, Assistant Water Resources Planner, stated that based on the updated information and understanding of the lake conditions, staff refined some of the scoring criteria. Staff added extra criteria to better differentiate the ability of each lake to support a given use. Staff also added criteria that explicitly facilitates and supports Zone 7's current and future operations, and eliminated criteria that were subjective, or not within Zone 7's mission. Ms. Church briefly went over the uses that changed from the 2014 evaluation.
Ms. Church shared a map showing a summary of all the potential primary uses identified for each lake. Ms. Church stated that the near term recommendations for this area have remained largely the same as the original lake use evaluation in 2014, with the exception that Cope Lake is no longer suitable for active recreation. Ms. Church stated that staff recommend the Board adopt the attached resolution, which accepts the preliminary lake use evaluation for the Chain of Lakes, Addendum 1 - 2020 Update, and adopt a proposed near-term recommendation for Lakes H, I and Cope.
Director Ramirez Holmes thanked staff for making the requested changes. Director Ramirez Holmes had some questions on Appendix E, which is the East Pleasanton Specific Plan development. Director Ramirez Holmes stated that the end of the Appendix is not currently accurate for the East Pleasanton Specific Plan, and asked that some grammatical issues be corrected. Director Ramirez Holmes stated that, for the last paragraph, there is a new developer in place, but the City of Pleasanton is not reactivating the task force, but instead the Planning Commission will be administering workshops and meetings, so she requested that staff reformat the last paragraph to reflect this.
Valerie Pryor, General Manager, stated that staff will make the changes and could either bring it back to the Board at a future meeting or the Board could approve it subject to staff making those changes. Director Ramirez Holmes said it isn't necessary to bring it back to the Board for the grammatical changes.
Director Figuers asked if the ability to walk the roads around the lakes is still valid or is staff considering restricting all public access to the lakes. Ms. Winey responded that what staff based their evaluation on would be if we could have enough room for there to be a trail separate from the maintenance road and some of the areas having access to the slope could be dangerous if trail access is not being taken on by another agency with recreational experience. And if we put a fence along the top of the slope, that restricts our own access to maintain the slope. So, for this evaluation, in Zone 7's best interest, we only looked at areas where we could have the slope, a maintenance road, a fence, and then the trail, respectively. Ms. Winey added that if an agency came to us and proposed some alternative that would keep everything safe and Zone 7 would still be able to maintain the slope, staff would look at that and then bring it to the Board.
Director Figuers asked why would staff want put the access roads, which are on top of the berms, off-limits. Ms. Winey responded that there is not enough room for a vehicle for maintenance and a trail, and we want to keep a fence up to keep people out of the lake. Director Figuers said that in essence, you're telling us there would be virtually no public access for hiking or birdwatching around the lakes, but maybe in Lake A and Lake B on the south side you might be able to do something to connect trails but are you going to get rid of any possibility of a north/south connection. Ms. Winey replied that we are not getting rid of it, we are just looking at what would be most suitable for Zone 7.
Director Ramirez Holmes stated that she doesn't feel that what staff has done is inconsistent with our policy and that if another agency wants to take care of licensing a trail, that would be something that would come to the Board. Ms. Winey stated that this document is a guidance for staff and the Board to use to determine what is suitable.
Director Palmer stated that the issue is with trails on the top of the banks where staff drive their trucks. It is a liability issue and if somebody gets hurt, Zone 7 could be liable, but if an outside agency wants to do an MOU where they would accept the liability, then that is something that could be looked at in the future.
Director Figuers stated that he wants to make sure he is on the record that he disagrees with the concept that the roads that bound the lakes are to be considered maintenance and considered off-limits to people. Carol Mahoney, Integrated Planning Manager, wanted to clarify that one of the things that staff looked at was how would we put this in the perspective of Zone 7. And, again, this is an evaluation. It is preliminary because we are anticipating that in a few years, we may receive Lake H so these are the near-term lakes for which this was initially facilitated. Ms. Mahoney added that if a parks district was interested in opening trails around the lakes, then a discussion could ensue. This evaluation is not meant to be set in stone.
Director Gambs stated as this is a preliminary evaluation, it is difficult to make a hard and fast assessment until you have a specific plan to review. For example, when we put a trail along Lake I near Mohr Avenue, there were specific plans and trails in use that were discussed. Director Gambs gave an example that on the Arroyo Mocho through Livermore where there was a bank that eroded and a fence was put up. Director Gambs asked if that was possible here. Director Gambs added that that is the kind of thing that the city would have to propose and the city may have to maintain.
After some discussion, Director Palmer made a motion to accept the preliminary evaluation with the changes mentioned and Director Ramirez Holmes seconded the motion. The motion passed with a voice vote of 6-1 with Director Figuers opposed.
Resolution No. 20-50 Preliminary Lake Use Evaluation for the Chain of Lakes, Addendum 1 - 2020 Update (Item 8)
Item 9 -
Board Policy on Committee Attendance
After discussing the item, the Board decided not to approve the item and Board procedures on Committee Attendance will remain as-is.
Item 10 -
Reports - Directors
President Sanwong gave a verbal report on the Go Green Initiative's documentary about Pleasanton's water. Director Palmer submitted a written report and also gave a verbal report. She mentioned that she attended an ACWA meeting on energy and suggested that another Director might be interested in being on the Energy Committee. Director Ramirez Holmes expressed interest and will look into it. Director Gambs also gave a verbal report on the ACWA/JPIA meeting he attended.
Item 11 -
Items for Future Agenda - Directors - none
Item 12 -
Staff Reports (Information items. No action will be taken.)
a. General Manager's Report
b. Legislative Update
c. Monthly Water Inventory and Water Budget Update
d. Capital Projects Status Report
e. Investment Report as of June 30, 2020
f. Camp Parks Endowment Trust Fund Annual Report
g. Verbal Reports
A member of the public wished to comment on Item 12c so Valerie Pryor gave a report stating that Item 12c is a monthly water inventory and water budget update report, which is the standard report that is done every month that summarizes the water we used in the previous month, in the year end balances.
Director Ramirez Holmes asked Ms. Pryor to comment on power outages how they have affected Zone 7 facilities, and also to comment on concerns we have been receiving regarding dry Arroyo issue.
Ms. Pryor stated that over the weekend, there were some power outages going through the community but haven't impacted Zone 7 operations as we have a means to deal with outages with generators.
Ms. Pryor also stated that starting last week the Arroyo Del Valle went dry, and staff received a handful of comments. She added that it is natural for the Arroyo to go dry during dry years and it last happened during the drought period from 2014 to 2016. Ms. Pryor added that the arrangement that we have is that before the Del Valle Dam was constructed, the rainfall would run down the Arroyos and when that natural rainwater dried up, then the Arroyos would also be dry. So once the dam was built, our arrangement is that we measure the amount of rainfall that's captured in Lake Del Valle, then we release that. Then when the local rainfall is done, typically in the summer, we do stop releasing water. The other water that we have stored in Lake Del Valle, our other storage, is State Water Project water, which that is reserved for drinking water, and we do pay for that water. Ms. Pryor added that staff checked in with its environmental consultant who said there has been no instances of adverse impacts to endangered species that they've studied, and staff also checked with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and they were satisfied with this arrangement that we have.
Ms. Pryor stated in the overall General Manager's report, she wanted to highlight that the Del Valle Ozonation Project is largely done and up and running. We are in the final acceptance phases. Ms. Pryor also wanted to point out that our bond rating was upgraded from AA to AA+ by Fitch Rating Agency. That rating upgrade was based on our strong financial leadership, our strong reserves, the water rate structure, having a fixed component, and that the agency has healthy levels of capital investment in our infrastructure, such as the ozone project.
Jill Buck, a resident of Pleasanton, commented in Item 12c. Ms. Buck asked if the extra water supply that Zone 7 has provided to the City of Pleasanton has in any way contributed to the inability to continue the artificial recharge of the Arroyo. She asked if the issue is that there has been more water that needed to be supplied to Pleasanton, or is it lack of precipitation this year. Ms. Pryor responded that there are two separate issues. Zone 7 has released all the natural rainwater stored behind Lake Del Valle and the reason why we are not doing groundwater recharge at this time is because the groundwater basin is 97% full, so there is very little opportunity to do any groundwater recharge. Furthermore, this is the time of year where we try to lower the groundwater basin so that when we have winter rains, we have the ability to capture those. So if we kept the groundwater basin at 97% or 100% full, then when we had winter rains, we would not be able to capture that water.
Item 13 -
President Sanwong adjourned the meeting at 8:44 p.m.