Dave Kuil is eager to extend the same low cost efficiencies and high standards of service to urban electricity users in Manteca, Ripon, and Lathrop that the South San Joaquin Irrigation District has had for the past 104 years when it comes to providing water to South County farmers.
Kuil is seeking re-election Nov. 6 to the Division 4 seat on the SSJID board. Division 4 encompasses the rural areas generally south of Manteca and west of Ripon. It also takes in a swath of the City of Manteca bounded along the north by Yosemite Avenue running east from Lathrop’s city limits, then north along Union Road, then southeast along the railroad tracks, then turns back west along Center Street and turns south with everything west of Locust Avenue in the division. Manteca south of the 120 Bypass and west of Union Road are also in Kuil’s division.
Kuil, a Ripon farmer and pest control advisor, has been working since he was elected in 2003 to bring lower cost electricity to Manteca, Ripon, Escalon and the surrounding rural areas. The critical vote at the San Joaquin County Local Agency Formation Commission to allow that to happen is expected to take place within the next 60 days after 10 years of exhaustive due diligence.
Among the SSJID accomplishments that Kuil points to are:
• completely relining all of tunnels and the replacement or resurfacing of most of the walls and floors in the 27-mile main supply line to reduce water loss as well as cut the chances of service interruption.
• built the Nick DeGroot Surface Water Treatment Plant in 2005 that brought treated surface water to Manteca, Lathrop, and Tracy that is designed to supply Ripon and Escalon as well in the coming years.
• accelerated the capital improvement program over a two-year period going from the typical five projects annually to 25 a year to put hundreds of people to work and to take advantage of construction costs that were slashed 50 percent due to the recession.
• completed the Robert O. Schulz Solar Farm to reduce the PG&E power costs at the surface water treatment plant by $600,000 a year.
• $70 million set aside in reserves to help fund additional water conservation efforts as well as deliver retail power at least 15 percent below what PG&E currently charges.
• continued an unprecedented 22 years of no hikes in taxes except for a state mandate conservation tax last year. That string includes two years where water charges were suspended due to the district’s management of its financial resources.
• implemented a farm irrigation efficiency investment program that has helped farmers reduce water use and costs and saved the district over 3,000 acre feet of water use annually.
• in 2012 completed the $14 million Division 9 pressurized irrigation delivery system that has helped reduce ground pumping plus saved 3,000 acre feet of water while also reducing air pollution by eliminating the need for diesel powered pumps.
• expanded the Tri-Dam Project hydroelectric power generation capacity by 15 megawatts of renewable energy.
• put in place an advanced communication system tying in the district’s 28 groundwater pumps allowing them to be operated from the SSJID’s central control room to reduce power use by time of day use and to help monitor salinity in groundwater.
• licensed and built a new microwave communications system to replace an antiquated radio communication system. The SSJID system is now considered the most advanced of any water agency in the state.
Kuil served 20 years on the Ripon Unified School District board. He is a member of the Ripon Lions Club as serves as a Future Farmers of America advisor.