Water Usage in Bakersfield Drops 5.5%

The California Waterboards showed a state-wide drop in water usage and some regions of the state exhibited a drop of up to 17%.

The waterboard said at a statewide level in June of 2014 California residents used 131 gallons per capita daily (GPCD) compared to June of 2022 residents used 101 GPCD. In June of 2021 California residents used 112 GPCD.

Kern County Officials, Growers Concerned About Lake Isabella Water Levels

Bakersfield and Kern County have been in drought mode since the end of last year with restrictions and cutbacks in place to try and save as much water as possible as we head into the hot summer months.

But water officials and growers are concerned as the flow from the Upper Kern into Lake Isabella now reduces to a trickle in the coming weeks and months.

In Bakersfield, Many Push for Bringing Back the Flow of the Long-Dry Kern River

The Kern River cascades from the Sierra Nevada in a steep-sided canyon, coursing through granite boulders, and flows to the northeast side of Bakersfield. There, beside cottonwoods and willows, the last of the river collects in a pool where dragonflies hover and reeds sway in the breeze.

Then the river dies, disappearing into the sand.

Decades ago, the Kern flowed all the way through Bakersfield. But so much water has been appropriated and diverted in canals to farmland that the river has vanished in the city, leaving miles of dry riverbed.

Now, a group of residents is campaigning to bring back a flowing river in Bakersfield.

Water Restrictions Coming to Bakersfield to Address Drought

Bakersfield’s two largest water providers will soon implement new restrictions to head off the potentially dire impacts of an extended drought.

On Dec. 14, the city of Bakersfield and California Water Service plan to limit the days customers can use water for outdoor landscaping. Other restrictions, like no longer automatically serving drinking water at restaurants, will also go into effect as officials attempt to meet or exceed Gov. Gavin Newsom’s call to reduce water usage by 15 percent.

Water Wars Heat Up in California

Water makes the world go ‘round, and a major player in California’s breadbasket doesn’t want to part with more than they have already. The city of Bakersfield, and the Kern County Water Agency are suing nearby water districts over their plan to skim water from Kern County sources for transport to other parts of the state — water that county officials say they need for themselves.

Farmers Doing More With Less Need Help From Above

Joel Ackerknecht manages about 3,500 acres of land north and west of Bakersfield and south of Arvin for DM Camp and Sons, a more than 80-year-old Kern County farming operation that grows a variety of specialty crops, including wine grapes, nuts and sweet potatoes.

A combination of expanding global demand for California produce, stretched water resources, receding ground water levels and increasing government regulations caused Ackerknecht to search for ways to do more with less.

SCV Water Opens Six New Wells Near Bakersfield, Uncorking “Banked” Water For SCV

Under an agreement to “bank” water outside of the Santa Clarita Valley, local water officials opened six new wells near Bakersfield this week, giving them direct immediate access to the water earmarked for the SCV.

On Monday, with much fanfare and ribbon-cutting, SCV Water and its water banking partners, Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District and Irvine Ranch Water District, opened six new groundwater wells and a conveyance system to the Cross Valley Canal in Kern County.

“The project and partnership is part of the Drought Relief Project,” SCV Water Board President Bill Cooper said Wednesday. “The focus is on developing the capacity to recover water during dry years and long-term droughts or other major emergencies.”

The Friant-Kern Canal Is Sinking. Thirty-Mile Parallel Canal Proposed

The Friant-Kern Canal, which delivers water to farms and communities on the east side of the Valley, is literally sinking in some areas due to groundwater pumping. And with one week to go before the California legislature wraps up its 2019 session, many hope the state will help fund the canal’s repair. FM89’s News Director Alice Daniel recently sat down with Johnny Amaral, the chief of external affairs for the Friant Water Authority to learn about one possible solution.