By Lois Henry, SJV Water
Just as they did more than two generations ago, Kern County farmers are looking to another Central Valley river to the north to refill their groundwater shortfall.
But this time around, natives in the Kings River watershed are “sharpening their knives” to fight off what they say is a desperate water grab. Read Full Story “Locals gear up for fight to keep Kings River water away from Kern district”
By Steve Haugen and Mark McKean
Ask any lifelong farmer or resident in the Central Valley, and they’ll tell you — the game is changing, and it’s changing fast.
Year after year, there is greater demand for water. Climate change wreaks havoc on crops, the droughts seem longer and the torrential rains come down even heavier. We are paying the consequences of past water management practices, especially overpumping of groundwater.
The state of California has pushed for smarter, more responsible and sustainable water management practices. In recent years, new laws have been enacted that will help all of us over the long-term. But it is critical that when our state’s leaders establish new goals and pass new policies, they must also help us achieve them without changing the rules of the game along the way.
Read Full Story “State regulators must ensure proper use of Kings River water and deny theft attempt”
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.
Read Full Story “Local Water Guys Eyeing Kings River Flood Water”
When you first meet John Vidovich, everything from his ball cap to his dirty boots tells you he’s a farmer.
He certainly looks the part in his well-worn jeans and checkered shirts.
But this outwardly unassuming multimillionaire has become a lightning rod of controversy.
Read Full Story “Is John Vidovich Planning to Sell Off the Valley’s Lifeblood?”
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.
Read Full Story “Kings Officials Unhappy About Water Proposal”
KINGS COUNTY (KFSN) —
A Kern County water district sees a major opportunity east of Kettleman City. It’s called the Tulare Lake Storage and Floodwater Protection Project.
Part of it includes a proposed 12,000-acre reservoir, with the potential to hold up to 30,000 acre-feet of floodwater.
Read Full Story “Kings County Leaders Oppose Semitropic Water Storage Project”
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.
Read Full Story “Plan for San Joaquin Valley Reservoir to Recharge Groundwater Draws Concern”
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.
Read Full Story “Exporting Kings River floodwater doesn’t serve needy families”
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.
Read Full Story “Kings Agencies Slam One Storage Project and Hail Another”
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.
Read Full Story “Water Storage Needed – but Keep Faith with Prop 1”