UPDATED:March 25th, 2016
I noticed some time after the second “cyber attack” last November some documents and photos were missing from old posts but thanks to backups I will be slowly reinserting this information.
Thank you for your patience.Just another coincidence I imagine.
Un d er Con s tr uct ion
PHOTO OF OLD EXCHEQUER DAM AT LAKE McClure (November 2013) This beauty should be underwater but WOW! What a beautiful design with all the arches. Photo taken from top of the NEW EXCHEQUER DAM. Great location for some background scenes in a movie huh? (Much more of this old dam is out of the water now.)WATER AGREEMENT WITH MID
This is what the LDPCSD must due under the agreement with MID (Merced Irrigation District) which holds water license 11395. Due to previous illegal Merced River water diversion and delivery to outside MID POU (Merced Irrigation District Place of Use) properties, every unit of water delivered outside the legal Place of Use (basically subdivision, golf course and a few other areas around Lake McClure) must be replaced with water from another source and for the LDPCSD that meant ground well water from our one well on Ranchito Drive.
UPDATE: That is UNTIL appointed GM Pete Kampa (Kampa Community Solutions, llc) and the current LDPCSD Board of Directors (3 out of 5 appointed – not elected by customers) decided to use our funds in combination with California State and US Federal grants to construct numerous additional ground wells. These wells have often been explained to the public as being necessary to keep the water flowing for existing customers of the district (primarily the residents of the Lake Don Pedro subdivision), but recently another “hidden agenda” has become painfully obvious.
GM Pete Kampa and the current Board of Directors (Emery Ross & Danny Johnson– elected by voters, and Dan Hankemeier, Russ Warren and James Sult appointed by sitting directors at various times) have secretly been planning to once again even further expand district water service to properties outside the legal place of use.
Unfortunately for the legal entitled users of Merced River water in the subdivision [primarily], this additional water service requires pumping water from our new ground wells, mixing an equal amount with river water, treating it at the water plant, and pumping to our storage tanks for ultimate delivery to the customer.
There are a number of questions. Why didn’t these outside MID POU properties simply drill a well on their property to get their own water?
A GREAT DEAL OF MONEY with NO GUARANTEE OF ADEQUATE WATER.
As Director Emery Ross knew then and proved recently, just because you have the money to drill a $20,000 hole in the ground, there is no guarantee of locating drinkable water – not even for cattle. Quality is one thing, but closely related is the adequacy of the volume of water pumped – how much during any given time period can be withdrawn from the earth? The fractured rock geology up here can make finding a suitable well difficult. If a large area where the pump is located is only fed with small cracks in the underlying rock a well might produce great for a while but then suddenly require an extensive “recovery time” for the aquifer to build up another supply from the trickling water in underground rock fissures.
Up here in the foothills the geology is quite different from the expansive valley aquifers where many wells can pump from the same source, but as we have seen during this extended drought in so many communities, often it is only a matter of time before wells start failing. Over drafting of a well equals limited availability as the aquifer must recover. Ever hear of subsidence? That’s where the land over a depleted aquifer drops in elevation, sometimes quite significantly. Whole subdivisions in the valley have been affected by this phenomenon which has motivated untold investigations of who was responsible for the situation not to mention the “flood” of insurance claims. Ground water pumping is also on the state’s list of things to control and moderate. I know of property owners up in the mountains who drilled their own wells decades ago yet are now being told that the State is going to install monitoring devices on their private well. Needless to say, they are not happy campers any more.
The interconnection of aquifers underground is another important variable. Remember the Ranchito Drive well test? Emery Ross reported to the board at a meeting that an adjacent ground well property owner had experienced irrigation difficulties because of the prolonged pump test and draw down of the shared aquifer. Size of pump, number of pumps, available water in aquifer, how long pumps must run …..so many variables. With all these ground wells the District has drilled I wonder if it will have an affect on existing ground wells that have operated satisfactorily for many years? The LDPCSD may actually be hurting some of those properties existing on ground well water in their pursuit of expanding district service with our new ground wells. Doesn’t really make much sense does it?
INCREASED WATER SERVICE to outside MID POU properties using the newly developed ground well water “alternate source”? Land developers and assorted real estate interests have been demanding water service since the beginning of this area’s development.
Folks who decided they did not want to purchase property in a Community Interest Development with owners associations (Home or Property), Board of Directors, miscellaneous committees, CC&Rs (covenants, code and restrictions), etc., telling them how to develop their property, is fine. However, one of the biggest incentives to purchasing Lake Don Pedro subdivision property is the availability of quality affordable water, that is up to now it has been affordable. That was one of the first things Mr. Kampa changed was the LDPCSD motto pointing out that variable – reasonable cost.
Some folks who didn’t want to live in the subdivision purchased much larger parcels outside, but near the subdivision boundary which was comparatively much cheaper acreage. Some were not concerned with building immediately others were. When the costs involved in drilling an unpredictable water well dissuaded them from even trying to drill a ground well, many began requesting, even demanding, that the LDPCSD furnish water to their nearby properties. When refused a few decided to purchase an LDPOA lot to secure the ALREADY INSTALLED METER BOX WITH CONNECTION, and then simply bury an underground water pipe to their “chosen property” which in some cases was a considerable distance. This is, never-the-less against the regulations of serving Merced River water outside the MID POU.
Naturally there have always been sympathetic employees of the LDPCSD who also did not like the idea that properties so darn close to the subdivision water infrastructure could not receive water. Through the decades a property here, another there, one up on that hill, those acres over there……you can see what happened. 36 ± properties now already receiving water and included in an extended boundary line drawn in ink that pushes beyond the LEGAL DISTRICT SERVICE AREA of license 11395 and the MID POU.
Here is the simple fact:
THEY DIDN’T WANT OUR SUBDIVISION PROPERTY WITH WATER
THEY WANTED OUR SUBDIVISION WATER ON THEIR PROPERTY!
Pete Kampa and his board of directors have been working behind the scenes to supply just that and they expect the 99% of legal water users to pay the bills for perpetuity, because once you supply these properties with water – you will never be able to stop.
(Actually, legally speaking, many of these current outside MID POU properties agreed as a condition to service to annex their properties into the district, but even failing this contingent requirement for continued service, the district never stopped supplying the water and the problem only became worse.)
GROUND WATER SUBSTITUTION FOR SURFACE WATER TRANSFER
Is the fancy term for this “replacement of Merced River water”. Because the district transfers “lake water” (Merced River water) to places outside the permitted service area, the Ranchito Drive well was created to produce the same amount of river being diverted outside the MID POU. This ground well water is mixed with Merced River water and PRESTO! the district can how deliver this “mixed water” any where it wants. Oh really? Hummmm.
Ground wells in this fractured rock geology are often unreliable. Will the ±99% of entitled Merced River water customers continue to pay into the future for the added accounting; maintenance; repair and eventual replacement of these “Special Benefit ground wells”? Will the State and Federal government continue to supply grants for more expansion, eventual repair and replacement?
Feb 25th, 2015: Well drilling – ANOTHER DRY HOLE
The following is an old October 2014 standard monthly report (contained in each Board Packet at the time) which was also furnished to MID to evidence adherence to the contract. As you can see, the District did not pump an equal or greater amount of water from the Ranchito Drive well (in the roadway easement) to replace the Merced River water delivered to outside Place of Use properties. Although preceding months indicated a surplus of water pumped from the Ranchito well , the LDPCSD was still required to pump an equal or greater amount of water from the well than is used outside MID POU every month.
Here are some of the MID requirements for the month compliance report which was traditionally contained in the public board packet but has been discontinued for some reason since GM Pete Kampa assumed control of the District.
Here <below> is an even older report with no compliance figures at all. Now it is understandable that from time to time, due to repair issues or other extraordinary influences, a monthly report might not be completed (was it just not in the Board Packet? Was an incomplete report sent to MID?) however, prior to my taking a seat on the board Director Ross had unilaterally changed the reporting process without approval from the board. And what a co-incidence – during high water demand months for a cattle ranch. This is what was going on with the MID POU REPORTS:
SO WHO SHOULD PAY FOR SPECIAL BENEFITS?
So the BIG ARGUMENT HAS BEEN, and, IS: who is going to continue to pay for this SPECIAL BENEFIT of water service outside the permitted areas under the water license and the contract with MID?
Now of course we have multiple ground water wells but still must provide water to all existing properties outside the MID POU (elementary school, fire department, sewer plant, cattle ranches, homes, etc.) PLUS whatever additional properties this GM and his Board may wish to include after researching the matter.
This is the resolution the GM and Board have twice attempted to rescind in order to serve other properties outside the MID POU.
DIRECTOR EMERY ROSS (and his supporters) believe the 99% of legal users of Merced River water (subdivision residents and absentee owners who pay water availability fees on their property taxes) should continue to pay for this special benefit water service to those not legally entitled to the water. What is the rationale for such a statement?
When EMERY ROSS first started talking about bringing more outside MID POU properties into the district (like his cattle ranch) through the installation of more ground water wells to provide the “alternative source of water” under the contract, yet expected the legal users to pay for these costly ground wells (in fractured rock geology no less) I did, and will continue to, object. That is nonsense.
Customers/taxpayers should only pay for what they receive. This is a special benefit to properties outside the legal use area under the operating license and they should therefore pay for the benefit they receive.
WHAT A MESSED UP MAP!
WATER LICENSE 11395
PLACE OF USE inside BLUE HATCHED line.
Outside MID POU properties (must receive ground well water substitution) in SOLID RED.
Some properties outlined in RED are outside district and MID POU (5,6 & 7).
ONLY one property was legally ANNEXED BY THE SWRCB (State Water Resources Control Board) and is outlined in GREEN – The SOUTH SHORE PROJECT off Bonds Flat Road (Road over dam) 2,010 acres granted 772 acre feet/year.
Other MARIPOSA (and Tuolumne) COUNTY PLANNING & LAFCo (Local Area Formation Commission) ANNEXATIONS were not approved by the SWRCB (through a formal petition for license change or administrative type remedy to change the POU) and therefore are still not entitled to the Merced River water that is pumped from Lake McClure.
How and why were properties annexed by MARIPOSA and TUOLUMNE COUNTY when the LDPCSD could not legally supply water under the license is confusing and has caused decades of turmoil.
OCTOBER 4th, 2002: The LDPCSD (Lake Don Pedro Community Services District) was unequivocally put on notice that several water meters owed to the STURTEVANT RANCH had been wrongfully claimed by other properties that were outside the LEGAL POU (Place of Use) under Water License 11395 held by Merced Irrigation District (MID). The investigation into the matter was prompted when some CSD documents identified EMERY ROSS as possessing one of the Sturtevant Ranch meters for his cattle ranch operation.
MISSING WATER METER STARTS A DIRECTOR’S DREAM CATTLE RANCH
“IF THEY STILL EXISTS” ?
The General Manager at that time was BOB KENT who was evidently unable to locate these important documents to confirm the Sturtevant Ranch assertion that water meters (previously agreed to be provided to them in exchange for some of their land to construct a water tank to serve that area of the Lake Don Pedro subdivision in 1969) had been wrongfully installed for other property owners not associated with the STURTEVANT RANCH AGREEMENT.
WHAT HAPPENED? The name EMERY ROSS was listed on some district business documents as being issued a water meter. As these documents were passed around the board meeting room one of the STURTEVANT RANCH folks noticed something very wrong. Emery Ross had one of their water meters!
NOTE: The last meter to have been claimed by someone else representing to be part of the STURTEVANT RANCH agreement was installed in October of 1978 – 15 years PRIOR TO the one acquired by ROSS!
That is why I previously wrote EMERY ROSS essentially “blew the whistle” on the other property owners who had also surreptitiously acquired STURTEVANT RANCH METERS . I did not mean to suggest that Emery had purposefully “ratted them out”.
“THEY HAVE WATER METERS and I WANT ONE TOO! Boo Hoo Hoo”
That’s what happened though. Many of those properties were sitting back all nice and comfortable with their water service until Emery jumped up and down because he couldn’t be the cowboy he had always dreamed of since a child. But guess what? Sill isn’t. Actually more suited for the COWBOY HALL OF SHAME.
There have been many rumors about what, and how it, happened, but no official action was taken until it was discovered EMERY ROSS had SOMEHOW “liberated” a water meter for his use – which was “specifically” denied PRIOR to Ross purchasing his ranch. The meter was re-credited to the other ranch yet to this day, decades later, EMERY ROSS still runs his cattle ranch with treated chlorinated water specifically intended for domestic residential consumption in the water license. yippie yi aye
THE STURTEVANT RANCH subsequently furnished the LAKE DON PEDRO COMMUNITY SERVICES DISTRICT with copies of the original documents proving their claim that the water meters had wrongfully been claimed by others. The APRIL 2003 LDPCSD letter acknowledges this assertion and apologizes for the time required to research the matter.
WHY WERE THESE (AND OTHER IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS) ALWAYS SO DIFFICULT TO FIND -IF EVER EVEN LOCATED?
ANSWER: I would imagine individuals who cheat and steal from public resources would not appreciate evidence just lying around in the form of official public business records. Oh what another surprising co-incidence – our administration office was the victim of complete arson destruction. Go figure, huh?
Below is the link to an old October 2014 post (If They Still Exists) which discussed among other things, missing LDPCSD records. I noticed some time after the second “cyber attack” last November some documents and photos were missing from old posts but thanks to backups I will be slowly reinserting this information.
Thank you for your patience.
Just another coincidence I imagine.
SO HOW AND WHEN DID EMERY ROSS GET THESE WATER METERS?
[COPIED FROM THE ABOVE “IF THEY STILL EXISTS” POSTING Oct 2014]
My understanding is that Ross was denied a water meter around May of 1993 so I started researching all of 1993 Board Meeting Minutes – but guess what meeting was not included on the computer disk supposedly containing all Board Meeting Minutes of the District? That’s right, the May 17, 1993 Minutes were missing.
My first thought was…..Maybe there was no May 1993 Board meeting for some reason? However, looking at the CONSENT CALENDAR for June 1993 (where the previous month’s Minutes are generally reviewed by the Board) the existence of a meeting on May 17th, 1993 was confirmed.
<INSERT JUNE 21, 1993 CONSENT CALENDAR>
SO WHAT HAPPENED TO THE MAY 17th, 1993 BOARD MEETING MINUTES?
Let’s move forward. The OCTOBER 4th, 2002 STURTEVANT RANCH LETTER to GM BOB KENT clearly indicates how and when Emery Ross wrongfully claimed one of the Sturtevant Ranch meters:“Emory Ross was the only person on the list that purchased property from Jean Hamar. Said hookup was specifically excluded from the sale. It is my understanding that he consulted with your office and was denied such. However on 8-2-93 you installed a meter for Mr. Ross and subsequently charged it against the (10) hookups granted Sturtevant/Hamar. NONE of the other persons named in this document own or live on property ever owned by the Sturtevant and or Hamar famalies. Therefore they would not be entitled to any of the ten (10) hookups.”
OK, so Emery Ross gets the meter in August of 1993 and that information would likely have been contained in the September 20, 1993 Board Meeting Minutes. But gosh! Couldn’t find that meeting either. So again I ponder…..perhaps there was no meeting on September 20, 1993?
<INSERT OCTOBER 18, 1993 APPROVAL OF SEPTEMBER 20, 1993 MINUTES>
SO WHAT HAPPENED TO THE SEPTEMBER 20th, 1993 BOARD MEETING MINUTES?
Let’s see now, Ross was denied a meter May 1993, and Meeting Minutes of May 17, 1993 are missing.
The STURTEVANT LETTER in 2002 states Emery Ross received a water meter August 2nd of 1993, yet the Meeting Minutes for September 2oth, 1993 are also missing which would have likely mentioned this outside MID POU water connection.
Appears Mr. Emery Ross purchased land knowing he had no right to a water meter. Somehow he convinced “someone” at the LDPCSD that he was entitled to one of the STURTEVANT RANCH meters which was installed in August 1993.
Strange, LDPCSD records that would normally document this activity are missing yet Ross has been operating this cattle ranch for twenty-three (23) years with chlorinated treated water clearly intended under the water license for domestic residential consumption and a “55 acre” golf course (among other approved recreational areas and a fish hatchery).
Some paperwork in the LDPCSD office indicates EMERY ROSS had a CATTLE RANCH METER installed August 2, 1993 on authority of an October 30, 1968 contract with STURTEVANT RANCH which had absolutely nothing to do with the Ross 115 acre property! What is more, several other properties also had meters installed per that 1968 contract including the property EMERY and BETSY ROSS purchased a home and now reside. That meter was installed January 1977.
THEREFORE: Any dates on LDPCSD paperwork which purports to document “timely entitlement” to water service simply cannot be accepted as fact without legitimate supporting evidence.
You know what? This is confusing. I think we need a time line.
A couple of years later Emery is still arguing with the board about something…..more to come.
My best to you and yours, Lew