MINUTES OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
ALAMEDA COUNTY FLOOD CONTROL AND WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT
May 19, 2021
The following were present:
DIRECTORS: SANDY FIGUERS
ANGELA RAMIREZ HOLMES
MICHELLE SMITH MCDONALD
DIRECTORS ABSENT: NONE
ZONE 7 STAFF: VALERIE PRYOR, GENERAL MANAGER
OSBORN SOLITEI, TREASURER/ASSISTANT GENERAL MANAGER, FINANCE
COLTER ANDERSEN, PRODUCTION MANAGER
JARNAIL CHAHAL, ENGINEERING MANAGER
CAROL MAHONEY, INTEGRATED WATER RESOURCES MANAGER
AMPARO FLORES, INTEGRATED PLANNING PRINCIPAL ENGINEER/GEOLOGIST
JOE SETO, FLOOD CONTROL PRINCIPAL ENGINEER
RHETT ALZONA, WATER SUPPLY ENGINEERING PRINCIPAL ENGINEER
ALEXANDRA BRADLEY, COMMUNICATIONS SPECIALIST
LIRA WALTER, ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT
COUNSEL: SCOTT SHAPIRO, DOWNEY BRAND
Item 1 - Closed Session
The Board went into Closed Session at 5:30 p.m. and came out of Closed Session at 6:48 p.m. Director Figuers left at 6:30 p.m. There were no reportable actions.
2. Open Session and Report Out of Closed Session
Item 3 -
3. Call Meeting to Order
President Sanwong called the meeting to order at 7:03 p.m. Roll call was taken and all Board members were present.
Item 4 -
4. Citizen's Forum
There was no public comment.
Item 5 -
Director Green requested some edits. A Board discussion took place and they agreed to rephrase part of Director Green's comments on page 11 to "while it was not on the ballot it was part of campaign discussion" for more clarity. Director Palmer made a motion to approve Item 5, and Director Green seconded the motion. The minutes were approved by a roll call vote of 7-0.
Item 6 -
6. Consent Calendar
Director Ramirez Holmes moved to approve all items on the Consent Calendar and Director Palmer seconded the motion. All Consent Calendar items were approved by a roll call vote of 7-0.
Resolution No. 21-38 Award of Contracts for As-Needed Structural Engineering Services (Item No. 6a)
Resolution No. 21-39 Award of Contracts for As-Needed Hydrologic and Hydraulic Services (Item No. 6b)
Resolution No. 21-40 Award of Contracts for As-Needed Ecological Engineering Services (Item No. 6c)
Resolution No. 21-41 Award of Contracts for Laboratory Analytical Systems Service Agreement (Item No. 6d)
Item 7 -
7. Science Odyssey Presentations
President Sanwong shared that she attended the ceremony on May 11, and it was great to see all the student participation in the posters and in their messaging. She expressed the importance of supporting the local youth and to encourage students to be water savvy. She was pleased that Zone 7 has participated for many years. President Sanwong then gave special recognition to the Science Fair participants, and highlighted the water related projects. Traditionally, these achievements were celebrated in May for Water Awareness Month, and the students would be invited to the Board Meeting. However, because of the virtual meetings on Zoom, a special awards ceremony was prearranged with the Mayor of Livermore Bob Woerner and Rob Seeley from Cal Water. All students received ribbons and certificates. Prize winners would also receive gift certificates to Mozart Einstein and Me in Livermore. The Board gave a round of applause to all the participants. Winners of the Livermore Water Awareness Poster Contest were also recognized at the virtual ceremony. The recording, which features the entire award ceremony, was linked on the website agenda, Zone 7's Facebook page and its YouTube channel. The posters were on display at the Livermore Chamber of Commerce building on First Street in Downtown Livermore.
Director Smith McDonald said she loved to see the kids' work in her job in the education field. She was happy President Sanwong was able to attend the virtual ceremony and said she would make time to watch the presentations. She hoped it would have exposure on the social media channels and on the website so that people can also share in the celebration. Director Palmer said this was part of Science Technology and Engineering and Math (STEM). She encouraged young people to participate in these programs as they would be the future water leaders, operators, and engineers.
Director Green was continually impressed with the next generation, and this is no exception. She congratulated the winners.
Director Ramirez Holmes stated that this was her favorite meeting and she always looked forward to the presentations from the students in the Valley. She was often very impressed by them and was disappointed that it was not held in person this year.
President Sanwong welcomed questions or comments from the public. None were received. The Board applauded the student participants once more.
Item 8 -
8. Adoption of the 2020 Urban Water Management Plan, 2020 Water Shortage Contingency Plan, and Addendum to the 2015 Urban Water Management Plan
President Sanwong explained the process in which this item would be presented and how the public hearing would take place. Amparo Flores, PhD, Integrated Planning Manager, and Rhodora Biagtan of West Yost would present the 2020 Urban Water Management Plan (2020 UWMP). It would then be opened for Board questions and comments to staff, followed by a public hearing to receive public comments which would be opened with an official statement prior to a motion or any votes.
Valerie Pryor introduced Dr. Flores and Ms. Biagtan who gave the presentation on the 2020 UWMP, the Water Shortage Contingency Plan, and the addendum to the 2015 Urban Water Management Plan (2015 UWMP). Ms. Biagtan provided background on the 2020 UWMP which included the planning, public process, and 2020 UWMP process and schedule. Dr. Flores presented Zone 7's water supplies and demands. She went over key tables and information that are included in the document. She noted that templates were provided as a part of the UWMP guidelines and that as a regulatory document, these templates were followed to present the information. Displayed were various tables and graphics to explain the water demand projections and the water supply and storage alternatives to meet future demands; however, the UWMP requires one plan, so only one portfolio is presented in the document. The latest estimates from the Department of Water Resources (DWR) from the 2019 Delivery Capability Report were used to estimate reliability. The Water Supply Reliability and Drought Risk Assessments shows agency activities to ensure the reliability of the water system and plans for meeting demands during droughts. The UWMP requires the agency to review a normal year, a single critically dry year, and five consecutive dry years. Dr. Flores shared a table of the normal year water supplies and demands which displayed the balance of supplies and demands during a normal year water year. It displayed the difference between supply and demand and showed the amount of extra supplies that can be put towards storage. The analysis indicated that Zone 7 can meet demands under normal conditions. The single dry year water supplies and demands were based on the 2014 condition, which was a critically dry year, similar to the current conditions. It represented the worst-case scenario and lowest supplies received from the State Water Project (SWP). The table listed the available supplies during critically dry years. Dr. Flores explained that on average there would be enough supplies to meet demands and noted that the agency has a very robust and complex water supply risk model to do these analyses where 10,000 simulations were run to account for different possibilities. A multi-year drought analysis, required by the UWMP guidelines to review five consecutive dry years, was conducted by reviewing a six-year drought period in the Zone 7 service area from 1987 to 1992. Sufficient supply was shown to be available, but it was noted that supplies progressively decreased as the dry conditions continue. The agency is also required to perform a five-year outlook drought risk assessment, so 2021-2025 conditions and availability of supplies were used for the analysis. This year, the agency was required to demonstrate consistency with a Delta Plan Policy WRP1, a requirement needed to meet both with the 2020 UWMP, and an addendum to the 2015 UWMP. This was a legislative requirement that was not part of the DWR requirements for the development of the 2015 UWMP, so many agencies like Zone 7 needed to retroactively address it to be in compliance. The policy requires agencies to reduce reliance on the Delta through improved regional water self-reliance. The 2015 and 2020 UWMPs will be used to demonstrate this. Dr. Flores shared a table that showed a reduction in reliance on the Delta over time, which would be added as an addendum to the 2015 UWMP to comply with regulations and will be reviewed by DWR as a part of the 2020 UWMP submission.
Ms. Biagtan discussed the Water Shortage Contingency Plan which is part of the UWMP and presents Zone 7's plans during water shortages, foreseeable events such as droughts, unforeseeable events such as earthquakes or infrastructure failure, that could limit Zone 7's water supply. The plan addresses how Zone 7 will close the gap between supply and demand during the water shortages. She provided examples of shortage response actions.
Dr. Flores shared comment highlights received from Dublin San Ramon Services District (DSRSD) and citizen of the public, Mr. David Lunn. She then went over the staff responses to each of these. There were no substantial edits to content recommended, but staff intent to make some minor changes to the document to improve clarity and readability.
President Sanwong thanked Dr. Flores and Ms. Biagtan for their comprehensive presentation. She opened Board questions and comments to staff, and then explained that the public hearing would be opened for public comments.
Director Smith McDonald asked Dr. Flores to address the incremental increase in demand to the public who may perceive it to be much higher due to the construction and development in the Valley. She also stated that new construction is less water demanding than older homes in the area.
Dr. Flores pointed out that retailer demand in 2020 was actually at about 38,000 acre feet, which still shows a fair increase over time. There are also competing effects on demand while conservation occurs and demand increases. Demands continue to shift between existing and new customers. Dr. Flores agreed that new construction tends to have more water efficient systems in place. There is also a transition from single family homes to multi-family units which consumes less water on a per unit basis due to less outdoor irrigation associated with them.
Director Palmer pointed out that new town homes and apartments require less water due to the reduced need for outdoor irrigation. She thanked staff and West Yost for putting together a very good project.
Director Gambs thanked staffed and the West Yost for putting together the presentation. He also acknowledged Mr. Lunn, a former Water Resources Manager at Zone 7, for his comments as it is great to have public participation, especially from somebody who has some expertise. He then asked how Zone 7's reliability compares to nearby water agencies.
Dr. Flores stated that the water world is very challenging for everyone across the state of California, so other agencies are pursuing the same projects as they all have a similar need for increased reliability in their system and additional water supplies. Reliability policies would need to be reviewed of the different agencies. Agencies also differ in terms of their access to water supply, how long they have been in existence, types of water rights, and the infrastructure. Zone 7 is highly dependent on imported water relative to other parts of the state. She touched on the diversity and complexity of water systems across the state and explained that all agencies are affected by the variability in hydrology and impacts of climate change.
Director Ramirez Holmes acknowledged the great presentation. She asked about the limited use of the reserve fund that was established to help cover shortages to 10% and how staff came up with the amount. She also asked if it was flexible in terms of evaluating.
Osborn Solitei, Treasurer/Assistant General Manager, Finance, explained that the water shortage surcharge assumed reserves funded at target level and surcharge only applies to volume-based water sales revenue, which is currently at 40% and likely 42.25% next year. Staff recommends using 10% of the reserve for economic uncertainties to mitigate for revenue loss during the drought. He stated that it was flexible and always the Board's decision.
Director Ramirez Holmes appreciated the adjusted surcharge amounts decreasing, coordination with the change to fixed rate and the implementation of a sunset as part of it and leaving that option in case reserves were depleted.
Director Green thanked staff and Ms. Biagtan for the presentation.
Director Palmer commented on the reduction in water demand. It is legislated at 55 gallons per person per day; however, in 2035, it is supposed decrease to 50 gallons per person per day.
Dr. Flores confirmed that there is a target of 50 gallons per capita per day, which is per person per day for indoor water use by 2030, starting from 55, going all the way down to 50 by 2030. That is what is currently in the water code and DWR is conducting the studies to see what is reasonable. Additionally, there has been talk about aiming for even lower levels; however, it was all still under discussion amongst water agencies and DWR.
President Sanwong asked if the next step would be to make the UWMP available online for members of the public and other interested parties to review once it was adopted by the Board.
Dr. Flores said yes, and the full public draft has been available online since May 3rd on the agency website. Notification emails were sent, and the link was also included in the newsletter. Hard copies were also available for those who requested it. The final version would be submitted to DWR and posted on the website.
President Sanwong then opened the public hearing and welcomed public comments on the 2020 UWMP, Water Shortage Contingency Plan, and the addendum to the 2015 UWMP.
Judy Zavadil, DSRSD Engineering Services Director, reiterated their support in Zone 7's pursuit of a broad array of water supply, storage, and conveyance projects to ensure water resiliency for the Tri-Valley. DSRSD is pleased to see that the UWMP describes Zone 7's need to implement projects that address both water supply shortages and the vulnerabilities with importing most of the Tri-Valley's water supply through the SWP and through the Delta.
Mr. Lunn, asked for the layperson's version to be made more user-friendly and to include some of the graphics that were shown during the presentation. Congressional state legislative members required agencies to provide specific information on energy. He felt that Zone 7 had this information but did not include it in the report. There are many people concerned about global warming and energy use. He thought it was important for the Board to realize that the water supply planning for droughts starts early in September, when the state requires Zone 7 to send a monthly summary of how it would operate with a 10% allocation year. He felt that staff was unwilling to share the monthly detail of those plans that are submitted to DWR and shared with Cawelo and Semitropic. The way to plan for a drought is to look at those detailed plans.
President Sanwong welcomed more comments from the public. None were received. She stated that with no additional members of the public seeking opportunity to provide comment, she would call the public hearing to be closed. With that, the Board could consider taking action.
Director Ramirez Holmes asked Dr. Flores and Ms. Biagtan to address Mr. Lunn's comments about what was included about energy use.
Dr. Flores could not recall exactly what was included in the UWMP but could take a closer look at whether additional information could be included to enhance that section of the report. The information is certainly something that can be shared especially if it already exists. Ms. Biagtan indicated that section three and chapter six provides energy intensity information for the treatment and distribution of Zone 7's water supply.
Director Palmer moved to approve Item 8, which had two Resolutions: Resolution 21-42 Adoption of the 2020 Urban Water Management Plan and Addendum to the 2015 Urban Water Management Plan & Resolution 21-43 Adoption of 2020 Water Shortage Contingency Plan, and Director Ramirez Holmes seconded the motion. Both were approved by a roll call vote of 7-0.
Resolution No. 21-42 Adoption of the 2020 Urban Water Management Plan and Addendum to the 2015 Urban Water Management Plan
Resolution No. 21-43 Adoption of 2020 Water Shortage Contingency Plan
Item 9 -
9. Award of Contract for Desktop Groundwater Contaminant Mobilization Study
President Sanwong stated that Item 9 would be brought to the June Board Meeting.
Item 10 -
10. Reports - Directors
President Sanwong said she was invited to sign onto two different letters, which she signed as an individual with her title as a member of the Zone 7 Board. One of the letters inquired about whether the Zone 7 logo could be used; however, after reviewing it with the General Manager and legal counsel, she requested not to have the logo included unless the entire Board was able to review the Save Tesla Park organization. Several elected officials and public agencies had signed in support of the initiative. She asked if it could be added to a future agenda. She signed a second letter with other elected leaders in the Tri-Valley in support of the anti-Asian crimes that were increasing. She also asked if it could be an item for a future agenda. President Sanwong then inquired about the directors' protocols in signing letters as elected officials.
Director Smith McDonald asked if there were Board policies about directors signing in support of letters as a single board member or a private citizen.
Director Ramirez Holmes clarified that there is no policy, but directors can constitutionally sign as an individual and not using the logo is the most appropriate practice if the whole Board has not weighed in on a topic.
Director Green asked why Item 9 would be postponed. Ms. Pryor stated that it was referenced wrong on the agenda as discussion only when it should have been an action item.
Director Palmer asked if they could use their title as "Director Zone 7 Board" to sign a letter without the agency logo.
Scott Shapiro, General Counsel, stated that board members all have constitutional free speech rights. The key is not making it appear that they are speaking on behalf of the district.
Director Palmer attended the Water 101 Workshops that took place on April 22nd and 23rd and encouraged the board members to attend as they were highly informative, useful, and a great opportunity to network. The DCA Stakeholders Engagement Committee took place on April 28th which is not part of the DWR but they received a report on community benefits. She attended the Women in Water on the April 29th where there were examples and case studies on COVID testing in wastewater, which may be a method for future public health uses for other contaminants of concern or public health issues. She also attended the ACWA Region 5 meeting where she presented a Water Quality Committee Report and shared that she is the Region 5 Outreach Captain. On May 4th, she attended the meeting on PFAS/PFOA. There were federal regulatory issues coming up, including different proposals, and a report on state PFAS/PFOA. The State Water Resources Control Board Department of Drinking Water are doing PFAS monitoring, looking at the notification and the response levels and going through the PhD process. She attended the Zone 7 Special Board Meeting on May 5th and the Clean Water Revolving Fund and the Drinking Water Revolving Fund. She gave a presentation on May 17th at the Stoneridge Creek Community on water resilience and what is taking place with the water portfolio. She would also be addressing the Rotary Club with Director Gambs in the future.
Director Gambs attended the ACWA Conference where Karla Nemeth, Director of the California Department of Water Resources, spoke about the vulnerability of the Delta. 27 million Californians in Bay area, San Joaquin Valley, Central Coast and Southern California receive water from the SWP. There is a 72% chance that an earthquake could take place in the Bay Area causing levy failures that could cripple the SWP's ability to deliver fresh water. Sea level rise is accelerating the saltwater intrusion and threatening the fresh water supplies. These vulnerabilities are accelerated by climate change and extreme hydrology caused by it. Ms. Nemeth emphasized the state's commitments to moving forward with a single 6,000 CFS Delta tunnel project, connecting the northern Delta with the SWP facilities, which would provide the flexibility of SWP operations.
Item 11 -
11. Items for Future Agenda - Directors
Director Palmer stated that she was involved with ACWA Region 5 and would like to be a Board candidate. The Resolution from the Zone 7 Board to support it must be submitted by June 30th. She had been involved in many groups: SB 200 Needs Assessment Implementation working group, the Board of Directors for one year, the Executive Steering Committee, the ACWA water system approval fact sheet development, the PFAS consumer confidence report fact sheet development, a member of the ACWA outreach task force and the Outreach Captain for Region 5. She was Vice President of Region 5, a reviewer for the Excellence in Water Leadership Award for ACWA, the Vice Chair of the Water Quality Committee, and on the PFAS People Award group. Director Palmer hoped for the Board's support in her nomination form. Ms. Pryor indicated that it was on the agenda planning calendar. The directors looked forward to seeing it on a future agenda.
President Sanwong took a moment to thank everyone for being part of the Zoom Board Meetings over the last year.
Director Ramirez Holmes asked for some clarification on when meetings could be held in person.
Ms. Pryor stated that staff were planning for July or August but would certainly wait until after the state plans to open on June 15 to ensure things continue to trend in a positive way.
Mr. Shapiro added that there were discussions amongst attorneys for public agencies over the last few weeks about whether and when the governor will change his Executive Order on modifications to the Brown Act. Although masks may be eliminated and there will be less issues with social distancing, there may still be some people that will feel uncomfortable meeting at large places and want to participate from home. If those people are board members, and the governor repeals his Executive Order of modifying the Brown Act, then board members return to the old practice of including their address on the agenda and inviting members of the public to their home. Which defeats the purpose of self-isolating for those who are in a questionable medical class. ACWA is working as part of a coalition to advocate that if the governor is going to make a change, he provides at least a 30 day notice so public agencies have a chance to implement the new policy or to consider leaving the existing policy in place to allow people to participate remotely using services such as Zoom which have increased public participation.
Director Ramirez Holmes added that there is also a piece of legislation with similar requests.
Director Palmer encouraged the public to get vaccinated.
Item 12 -
12. Staff Reports
Ms. Pryor highlighted that the key item in the Staff Reports was the drought. The agency is coordinating with several others to call on numerous resources. Weekly meetings are taking place with the with DWR and they are assuring that Zone 7 will meet all its demands this year. The statewide water system will end the year in a bad deficit so it is likely that next year will be as dry or worse. Zone 7 is encouraging voluntary conservation and set a soft target of 10%, but she encouraged as much conservation as possible.
Director Green asked if the likelihood of next year being another dry year is a result of actual meteorological reviews.
Ms. Pryor stated that most of the state's reservoirs are extremely low and will likely end this year lower than they have been in modern times. Lake Oroville will likely be at a 40-year low by the end of summer so it will take some amount of weather to refill the deficit and the system. It is not based on weather forecasting.
Item 13 -
President Sanwong adjourned the meeting at 8:30 p.m.