2018 Annual Meeting Highlights Valley Water Balance, November Water Bond

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At Friant Water Authority’s second Annual Meeting this past Tuesday, March 27, nearly 250 growers, water agency staff, and public officials convened at the DoubleTree Convention Center in Fresno to both celebrate a year of success and to confront critical challenges for the coming years.  Attendees mingled during the reception before enjoying a buffet dinner at tables. Many people brought spouses or other family members with them.

“Our focus for last year’s meeting was to highlight big changes in our organization during 2016 and early 2017. This year, in addition to highlighting accomplishments from 2017, we wanted to provide a forum to discuss what we feel are the major challenges and opportunities facing the Friant Division and the entire San Joaquin Valley in 2018 and beyond, especially related to addressing capacity problems on the Friant-Kern Canal that are severely restricting water deliveries. We also wanted to reach an even broader cross-section of the San Joaquin Valley community than we did last year. I think we accomplished those goals,” said Jason Phillips, FWA Chief Executive Officer.

  Panelists included (l-r) Dept. of the Interior's Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Austin Ewell, California Director of Water Resources Karla Nemeth, and Bureau of Reclamation Mid-Pacific Regional Director David Murillo.

Panelists included (l-r) Dept. of the Interior's Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Austin Ewell, California Director of Water Resources Karla Nemeth, and Bureau of Reclamation Mid-Pacific Regional Director David Murillo.

In addition to presentations by FWA staff, the program included a presentation by Dr. Jerry Meral on the benefits of the Water Supply and Water Quality Act of 2018 (2018 Water Bond) for the Valley and a panel of state and federal water officials discussing their near-term priorities. FWA Board President Kent Stephens also presented an award to Lucille Demetriff, recently retired from the board, for her more than 20 years of service to FWA and Friant Water Users Authority.

  FWA Board Chairman Kent Stephens presents former Board Secretary/Treasurer Lucille Demetriff with an award for nearly a quarter century of service to FWA and Friant Water Users Authority.

FWA Board Chairman Kent Stephens presents former Board Secretary/Treasurer Lucille Demetriff with an award for nearly a quarter century of service to FWA and Friant Water Users Authority.

Download PDFs of the program and slideshow.

Did you attend the 2018 Annual Meeting? Help us get a jump start on next year’s event by providing feedback to us at execasst@friantwater.org.

Second Annual Meeting and Dinner to be Held March 27 in Fresno

  Jason Phillips addresses the Friant Divisionduring FWA's first Annual Meeting in 2017 at the International Agri-Center in Tulare.

Jason Phillips addresses the Friant Divisionduring FWA's first Annual Meeting in 2017 at the International Agri-Center in Tulare.

Last April, nearly 200 Friant Division growers, Friant Water Authority (FWA) staff, and members of the San Joaquin Valley agricultural community gathered for the first-ever FWA annual meeting. On March 27, FWA will hold its second annual meeting, this time in Fresno at the DoubleTree Convention Center. The event will begin at 6 PM and includes a reception, hosted dinner, and speeches and presentations by FWA staff and directors, federal officials, and others in the water community.

FWA launched this annual event to highlight recent changes in the organization's staff and Board of Directors, provide an outlook on challenges and opportunities facing the entire Friant Division, and also convene a broad cross-section of the Friant community. Last year, many attendees brought their families, and several remarked to FWA staff that they reconnected with friends and colleagues they hadn’t seen for a decade or more. This year's program will focus on accomplishments during 2017, challenges related to the water balance in the San Joaquin Valley, federal water priorities, and the 2018 Water Bond. 

RSVPs are requested but not required: centralvalleygroup.com/events. There is no charge to attend. Please call 559-281-9008 with any questions.

Friant Water Authority Welcomes Back Fresno Irrigation District and Chowchilla Water District as General Members

TULARE, CA – The Friant Water Authority (FWA) Board of Directors yesterday voted to approve an agreement for Fresno Irrigation District (FID) to join the organization as a general member and an operations and maintenance (O&M) project member. During its January 25 meeting, the FWA Board also approved an agreement for Chowchilla Water District (CWD) to rejoin as a general member.

FID and CWD were among the original members of FWA when it was formed as a joint-powers authority in 2004. In 2015, both districts left FWA to form Friant North Authority, along with Madera Irrigation District and Gravelly Ford Water District. In 2017 FID and CWD joined FWA as a “trial member” and an “associate member,” respectively. CWD is approximately 85,000 acres and holds a Class 1 contract for 55,000 acre-feet and a Class 2 contract for 160,000 acre-feet – some of the largest contracts in the Friant Division of the Central Valley Project. At 250,000 acres, FID has one of the biggest footprints in the Friant Division; the district holds a Class 2 contract for 75,000 acre-feet.

“A year ago we agreed to join Friant Water Authority in a trial capacity because we knew the organization had undertaken some welcome changes,” said FID Assistant General Manager Bill Stretch. “Over the past year, we’ve had the chance observe those improvements firsthand, which led us to this decision to rejoin fully.”

“Chowchilla Water District voted last year to rejoin Friant Water Authority because we saw a tremendous improvement in its staff and operations, and we’re confident that the organization will continue to represent its members and work tirelessly to protect the water interests of the valley’s eastside,” said Kole Upton, CWD President.

“As two of the largest Friant Division contractors – both in acreage and water contracts – CWD and FID are critical voices for growers in the valley. We’re pleased to welcome them both back to Friant Water Authority, an organization they helped found nearly 15 years ago,” said FWA Board Chair Kent Stephens.

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FWA is a joint-powers authority formed in 2004 by a majority of the water agencies receiving water from the Friant Division of the Central Valley Project. Its primary purposes are to operate and maintain the Friant-Kern Canal and to serve the information and representation needs of its member agencies.

Contact: abiering@friantwater.org, 916-628-0431