Local Water Guys Eyeing Kings River Flood Water

You’ve got to hand it to our local ag water guys.

As increasing regulations and drought have pinched the supply from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, Kern’s water folks have gotten pretty darn creative.

One district recently bought the old Onyx Ranch above Lake Isabella in hopes of bringing water from the south fork of the Kern River to crops in the valley. Other districts are looking at buying islands in the delta to use as private reservoirs.

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Kings Officials Unhappy About Water Proposal

HANFORD — What happens when an agricultural water district in Kern County proposes to capture Kings River floodwater and use it on farmland near Bakersfield?

It gets Kings County officials and farmers worked up.

That’s what has taken place since Semitropic Water Storage District, with an office in Wasco, announced last month that it will prepare an environmental impact report on a proposal to build a huge ponding basin near Kettleman City to capture flood releases from Pine Flat Dam and pump them into a water bank in Kern County.

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Plan for San Joaquin Valley Reservoir to Recharge Groundwater Draws Concern

CALIFORNIA’S TULARE LAKE was once the largest body of freshwater west of the Mississippi River. Located at the southern tip of the San Joaquin Valley, it collected snowmelt from dozens of Sierra Nevada streams. Today, the giant lake is long gone: In the decades after the Gold Rush, it was drained and transformed into farmland.

Now, in a modern era of water scarcity, some are eager to see even a small bit of the old Tulare Lake restored. It could be an effective way to recharge groundwater that’s been overtapped by those same farms.

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Exporting Kings River floodwater doesn’t serve needy families

At the height of our state’s historic drought in 2014, more than two thirds of California voters cast their ballots in favor of Proposition 1, a $7.5 billion water bond to fund water quality, supply, treatment and storage projects.

Three years later, the drought has ended – at least for now. But in the central San Joaquin Valley, we know that our region still very much needs to develop additional surface-water storage to capture runoff in above-average water years.

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Kings Agencies Slam One Storage Project and Hail Another

Kings River water agencies, local leaders, Valley counties and area farmers all slammed Semitropic Water Storage District’s plan to divert Kings River water this week at a key hearing in front of the California Water Commission. An overwhelming majority of comment letters strongly opposed funding the project while the much larger Temperance Flat reservoir, competing for the same pot of money, got strong support.

The commission is considering funding requests from advocates for 12 water projects including Temperance Flat and from Kern-based Semitropic for its proposed reservoir near Kettleman City.

 

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Water Storage Needed – but Keep Faith with Prop 1

In the midst of California’s severe drought back in 2014, more than 67-percent of California voters helped to pass Proposition 1, the $7.5 billion water bond to fund water quality, supply, treatment and storage projects.

In the nearly four years since the bond’s passage we have seen the last historic drought come to an end, but the reprieve may be short-lived. And one fact remains unchanged: California still desperately needs to develop additional storage to capture runoff in above-average water years.

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No Love for Tulare Lake Storage Project

While the Temperance Flat Reservoir Project has strong local support, the Tulare Lake Storage and Floodwater Protection Project continues to get slammed in the competition for state funds.

In February, the California Water Commission released its staff evaluation of the public benefits of the 11 projects competing for Proposition 1 water storage bond funds through the Water Storage Investment Program.

 

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California Water Commission Vote Makes It Official: “Tulare Lake Storage & Floodwater Protection Project” Ineligible for State Funding 

FRESNO – The Kings River Water Association (KRWA), representing opponents of the Semitropic Water Storage District’s proposed “Tulare Lake Storage & Floodwater Protection Project,” today praised the California Water Commission (CWC) for its vote making the project officially ineligible to receive public funds through the state’s Water Storage Investment Program (WSIP). The proposal by Kern County-based Semitropic, one of 11 projects competing for Proposition 1 water storage bond funds, would export floodwater from the Kings River basin for the benefit of private landholders outside the area.

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