Zone 7 Meeting - March 16, 2022
MINUTES OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
ALAMEDA COUNTY FLOOD CONTROL AND WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT
March 16, 2022
The following were present:
DIRECTORS: SANDY FIGUERS
ANGELA RAMIREZ HOLMES
MICHELLE SMITH MCDONALD
DIRECTORS ABSENT: SARAH PALMER
ZONE 7 STAFF: VALERIE PRYOR, GENERAL MANAGER
OSBORN SOLITEI, TREASURER/ASSISTANT GENERAL MANAGER, FINANCE
COLTER ANDERSEN, PRODUCTION MANAGER
JARNAIL CHAHAL, ENGINEERING MANAGER
CAROL MAHONEY, GOVERNMENT RELATIONS MANAGER
JOE SETO, PRINCIPAL ENGINEER
TAMI CHURCH, ASSOCIATE PLANNER
ALEXANDRA BRADLEY, COMMUNICATIONS SPECIALIST
DONNA FABIAN, EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT
COUNSEL: REBECCA SMITH, DOWNEY BRAND
Item 1 - Closed Session
The Board went into Closed Session at 5:18 p.m. Directors Figuers arrived at 5:35 p.m. The Board came out of Closed Session at 7:20 p.m.
Item 2 -
President Ramirez Holmes called the meeting to order at 7:29 p.m.
President Ramirez Holmes reported out of Closed Session that the Board evaluated the General Manager stating that Valerie Pryor, General Manager, is "meeting expectations in many areas and exceeding them in others. She has provided responsive and consistent leadership, and the strong representation of the staff in providing information to the Board is reflective of her high standards for the work of the agency. During COVID, she has effectively managed the agency and kept Zone 7s work moving forward during a challenging time. We have provided her goals for the upcoming year, and we are confident in her leadership of the agency into the future." Item 11, which is the General Manager's Compensation, will be tabled to the next Board meeting.
Item 3 -
Item 4 -
4. Roll Call of Directors - Director Palmer was absent.
Item 5 -
5. Public Comment - There were no comments from the public.
Item 6 -
Director Smith McDonald moved to approve the minutes and Director Gambs seconded the motion. The minutes were approved by a voice vote of 6-0 with Director Palmer absent.
Item 7 -
Director Figuers moved to approve the Consent Calendar and Director Green seconded the motion. The Consent Calendar was approved by a roll call vote of 6-0 with Director Palmer absent.
Item 8 -
Graham Bradner, Executive Director of the Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority (DCA) briefly explained the roles and responsibilities of DCA with respect to the Delta Conveyance Project. He noted that the DCA works hand in hand with the Department of Water Resources (DWR), and they are the lead agency for the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) analyses. DCA is responsible for the conceptual engineering and development of all the documentation and support that is used to conduct those impact analyses.
Mr. Bradner stated that the purpose of the Delta Conveyance Project is to modernize the aging State Water Project (SWP) infrastructure in the Delta and restore and protect the reliability of the SWP. He added that the objectives of the project are to address sea level rise, climate change, minimize water supply disruption due to seismic risk, protect water supply reliability, and provide operational flexibility to improve aquatic conditions.
Mr. Bradner noted that there are three alignments included in the EIR. The central alignment goes through the heart of the Delta, the Eastern alignment, which is closer to I-5, and the Bethany Reservoir alignment. Mr. Bradner reminded the Board that there are four capacity options being considered for the project ranging from 3000 cubic feet per second (cfs), all the way up to 7,500 cfs. The 7,500 cfs would only be an option if there was a 1,500 cfs contribution by the Bureau of Reclamation.
Mr. Bradner stated that there is a Stakeholder Engagement Committee that was formed to provide feedback to the DCA on engineering work with a focus on reducing potential construction-related impacts.
Mr. Bradner spoke about public outreach and community engagement, how they are trying to make sure the information is out there for public review, and they are trying to encourage participation in the process.
Mr. Bradner added that the estimated project cost has not changed but will be refined when there is a preferred alternative selected, the budget has not changed, and they are currently on schedule and on budget.
President Ramirez Holmes wanted clarification that all three proposed alignments could produce 6,000 cfs with the potential of 7,500 cfs and Mr. Bradner confirmed. President Ramirez Holmes lauded Director Palmer's work on the Stakeholder Engagement Committee.
Director Green asked if the one of the alignments is preferred over the other from an environmental standpoint. Mr. Bradner responded that the Bethany Reservoir alternative would be less of an impact to wetlands and waters.
Item 9 -
Tami Church, Associate Planner, gave a report requesting authorization of resolutions needed for staff to apply for a grant through the DWR Floodplain Management, Protection, and Risk Awareness Grant Program (FMPRA) to complete the Flood Management Plan Phase 2 Project and the Alamo Creek Bank Stabilization and Flood Management Pilot Project.
Ms. Church noted that DWR has $50.4 million to fund flood related projects. She said that staff submitted two proposals in October which received favorable feedback from DWR. Staff then submitted full proposals in February; however, Board resolutions are required to complete the application for funding eligibility.
Director Gambs asked if using rock slope protection, rock cross-vanes, and vegetation integration is different than what is done now and what staff hoped to learn from these new techniques. Ms. Church replied that while she is not an engineer, there is a high degree of turbulence that is generated by the confluence of South San Ramon Creek and Alamo Creek, which is causing issues at the transition point downstream of the huge concrete confluence structure. Therefore, the rock cross-vanes are going to be spread out across around 2,000 linear feet and instead of treating the entire 2,000 linear feet of reach, staff hopes to address it in smaller digestible, incremental approaches. She believed if that technique was proven successful, it could be used more widely across our service area, especially in areas with steep slopes, not so great soils, and areas where velocity and incision issues occur.
Director Sanwong asked if the City of Dublin is involved in this project. Ms. Church responded that they did consult with the City of Dublin, but they did not want to participate. Director Sanwong asked Ms. Church if she was the point person on the City of Dublin's project just upstream. Ms. Pryor replied that Joe Seto, Principal Engineer for Zone 7, sits on quarterly meetings with the City of Dublin on their project, but many staff is in communication with people from the City of Dublin on a regular basis on these projects.
Director Gambs moved to approve both resolutions and Director Green seconded the motion. The resolutions passed by a roll call vote of 6-0 with Director Palmer absent.
Item 10 -
Alexandra Bradley, Communications Specialist, presented an update on the Water Reliability Public Information Program. She provided an overview of the background of the program, the program's goals and strategies, details on Zone 7's outreach concepts and materials, and how the message will be delivered through outreach efforts. She then played an educational video that depicts the journey that the Agency's water takes to reach the Tri-Valley.
Director Smith McDonald expressed concern about the concept of 'Tri-Valley Water Partners' and that it might be confusing to the residents of the Tri-Valley. Ms. Pryor responded that this was a collaborative process with all the partners and that all the partner agencies' logos would always be included to show that they are all working together, so that is where 'Tri-Valley Water Partners' came to fruition. Director Gambs stated that one of the challenges is conveying to people what Zone 7 is.
Ms. Bradley stated that there were several conversations with the retailers on how to convey that this is not a separate entity, and from a survey looking back, people are confused, not only about who Zone 7 is, but who they pay their bills to.
Director Sanwong agreed with the comments about the confusion with another entity and wondered if there is a way the logo could include all five agencies. She also stated that she does not like the phrase, 'behind the scenes.'
Director Green agreed that more must be done to educate people, so they understand where the water is coming from. She added that she wants to make sure the Agency has not decided on potable reuse, but that it was looking into it. She wanted to make sure it did not come across as marketing potable reuse. Ms. Bradley responded that this is to give everyone a broad understanding of the water system overall and the reason potable reuse is mentioned is that this education program came out of that discussion, which is why it is mentioned more often than the other projects.
President Ramirez Holmes stated that the money came from the potable reuse studies and workgroup and the work that has been done is gathering and providing information. The Board has not discussed or weighed in on any votes. She wanted to be very clear that it is not a topic that this Board has discussed. President Ramirez Holmes asked how the survey was conducted and when.
Ms. Bradley responded that it was done using a third-party company called Sentiment in 2021. President Ramirez Holmes asked how it was sent out. Ms. Bradley replied that she can get more information from the consulting firm. President Ramirez Holmes asked that she receive the full results from the survey, and she asked how much would be spent on this public information program. Ms. Bradley replied that there is a budget of $300,000 over two years.
President Ramirez Holmes asked how the process is working with the other partners. Ms. Bradley responded that they have been working collaboratively throughout the entire process, either through the steering committee or the PIO communications committee to vet and look at the marketing materials. She added that all the retailers have been at the table going through all the materials and are happy to put their branding and logos behind it.
President Ramirez Holmes stated that she agreed with Director Smith McDonald and that she is concerned about the 'partners' language. She felt it would be important for the logos to be used so that people know who is involved. She is also concerned about driving traffic to a new website. She agreed to strike the term 'behind the scenes.' She also added that the City of Pleasanton pulled out of some of the studies and asked if this was a separate pot of money. Ms. Pryor responded that Zone 7 is funding the program through treated water rates, then it is equitably born by all the retailers' customers. Ultimately the customers will be paying for this, whether it is through Zone 7 or from the retailers to Zone 7.
Director Smith McDonald added that she is uncomfortable with it because she feels like it is a marketing campaign, and some people might be resistant to that. She wants to be sure that as the agencies that are involved in this collaboration, the language is consistent.
Ms. Pryor stated that it has been requested to be on the agenda for the Tri-Valley Water Liaison Committee meeting on April 26.
Item 11 - General Manager's Compensation
Item 11 was tabled to the next Board meeting so that the public can have more time weigh in if they choose.
Item 12 -
There were no comments from the Board on the Committee notes.
Item 13 -
President Ramirez Holmes reported that Zone 7 is participating in the Go Green Initiative on the hometown water documentary film screening and panel for April 21st at the Firehouse Art Center in Pleasanton at 7:00 p.m. Zone 7 staff will be participating on the panel, and she will also be involved. She continues to chair the Los Vaqueros JPA, and she attended the ACWA Legislative Symposium and two State Legislative Committees of which she is a member.
Item 14 -
There were no items for a future agenda.
Item 15 -
Ms. Pryor highlighted from her report that we are still in a drought, the drought is worsening, and due to record dry January and February, the Agency is anticipating a reduction in the SWP allocation. Staff was instructed by DWR to start planning for a dry 2023 and that mandatory conservation is most likely going to be required for the remainder of 2022.
President Ramirez Holmes asked for confirmation that Zone 7 has been planning for a 0% allocation if it gets to that. Ms. Pryor responded that staff have been planning for it. Last year we pumped our highest amount of groundwater, and we are planning to do that again this year. We have stored water in our local groundwater basin, and we have water stored in San Luis Reservoir and in the various storage and recovery projects in Kern County. If possible, we are also looking to purchase some water.
President Ramirez Holmes asked for water use in January and February. Ms. Pryor said
that January demands were 2% higher relative to the same time in 2020. The monthly water inventory and report showed February demands were 4% higher, both relative to the same time in 2020. Ms. Pryor added that grant funds may be available, and Zone 7 would be applying for some of those funds.
Item 16 -
President Ramirez Holmes adjourned the meeting at 8:53 p.m.