Kern supervisors declare local emergency due to water shortage

Local News

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Supervisors declared a local emergency Tuesday due to a severe water shortage.

The resolution, approved 4-0 Tuesday, came after Gov. Gavin Newsom expanded a statewide drought emergency Monday to include 41 of the state’s 58 counties, including Kern. Experts have said early warm temperatures and dry soil led to less snowpack runoff across the state, which in turn led to less water in major reservoirs.

Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO Ryan Jacobsen said farmers should prepare for a tough summer.

“This is a good step forward but it cannot be the sole and only solution,” Jacobsen said of the governor’s action. “Hopefully it will put us in better shape for future droughts.”

Meantime, the resolution approved by Kern County supervisors Tuesday seeks immediate assistance from the state and asks the Newsom Administration to transfer emergency water supplies to Kern. According to county leaders, Kern already is reeling the effects of lack of water. Snowpack in the Kern River watershed is far below normal, and the governor’s office announced earlier this year it expects to deliver only five percent of contracted water supplies to local growers through the State Water Project.

Sen. Melissa Hurtado of Sanger said Monday she wants to make sure Central Valley growers and the agricultural industry are prioritized.

“This is going to have an impact on everybody,” said Hurtado, a state senator from Sanger who represents parts of Kern County. “I don’t want to fear the worst, and I hope we can act quickly with adequate investments that can prevent us from global food crisis.”

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