Kern County Water Agency declares severe shortage emergency

Local News

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Wednesday, the Kern County Water Agency declared a water supply emergency in response to the California Department of Water Resources announcement that the water supply allocation for Kern County is zero percent.

“This declaration should make all aware that these are extraordinary times for Kern County,” said Royce Fast, Agency Board of Directors president, in a news release. “Given these dry conditions, coordination and cooperation among local, State, and federal agencies will be required to maximize and optimize California’s very limited water resources.”

A zero percent water supply allocation means the county will receive no water in 2022, which Kern Water officials said could be the third consecutive year of dry weather, leaving its supplies at all-time lows.

“To get through these extreme dry conditions, local farmers and others will look to water stored in groundwater banks in previous wet years.  Unfortunately, groundwater reserves have been depleted in recent years with dry hydrology and the effects of regulatory restrictions in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.  Groundwater banks must be replenished consistently to be a viable resource.  Ultimately, water shortages have a direct impact on Kern County’s economic health,” Fast added.

Kern Water officials said it will cost about $155 million to recover the groundwater supplies in 2022.

Officials said they are working to improved hydrologic condition in the coming months in hopes of improving the water supply conditions.

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