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Coalition asks TID to help fund exhibits at new science center
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The California Farm Water Coalition is hoping that the Turlock Irrigation District will help fund its commitment to build four interactive exhibits at Sacramento's Powerhouse Science Center in an effort to educate consumers throughout the state about the importance of agriculture.

"We have really benefitted from the support and leadership of TID over the years and we hope that you'll join us with this small request of being part of the Powerhouse Science Center," said CFWC Executive Director Mike Wade when he addressed the TID Board of Directors on Tuesday, Oct. 25.

CFWC was formed in 1989 during the drought to increase public awareness of the agriculture industry's efficient use of water and environmental sensitivity regarding water. The organization has three primary goals to serve as the voice of agricultural water users, represent irrigated agriculture in the media and to educate the public about the benefits of irrigated agriculture.

"The mission of the California Farm Water Coalition has been to serve as a principal source of factual information on agricultural water use for the public, for the Legislature and for the agricultural industry," said Wade. "We see ourselves as a reflection of what happens in irrigated agriculture and helping other members of the industry from other organizations do a better job talking about water issues when they engage with their constituents and the public."

The CFWC Board of Directors made a decision over a year ago to commit $1 million to building four interactive exhibits at the Sacramento Powerhouse Science Center, which is slated to have over 25,000 square feet of exhibit space including a full-dome digital planetarium theater, an all new Challenger Learning Center, and all new interactive exhibits in earth sciences, conservation, physical sciences, astronomy and space sciences.
The TID Directors did not take action about the CFWC's request for funding.

Also during the meeting, TID General Manager Casey Hashimoto addressed the concerns of Hughson resident Ray Diaz regarding cyber security after Friday's massive cyber attack that briefly blocked access to over 1,200 websites including Twitter and Netflix.

"We know that a well-executed cyber attack could affect the western power grid and the TID assets," said Diaz. "Hopefully, TID has their own aggressive plan for this. Give us some reassurance that there is something going on."

Hashimoto agreed with Diaz, stating that the need for cyber security is an ongoing concern within TID. Back in 2007, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation came up with rules for utilities such as TID to comply with, a lot of which regard cyber security standards.

"Since 2007, TID has been getting our system hardened, there are requirements for firewalls between business systems, between outside communications, and so forth," said Hashimoto. "These standards have been upgraded continuously since 2007 and each time TID has been required to comply. We have audits by the regulators and TID has successfully passed all the audits every three years.

"The recent one that happened was a denial of service type of attack and even some of our systems that provide the Board their packages on Friday were difficult to get out, so that type of attack on our system that runs our electric system is a little harder to do," continued Hashimoto.