BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – After two weeks of storms Kern has water in our parks and in our lakes throughout the county. But what does it mean for the short term and for the long term?

It might have meant progress in the state’s long-running quest to deal effectively with the drought – if we had the means and will to capture and store more of that water.

But, according to former state Senator Dean Florez, now a member of the California Air Resources Board, we don’t. More than 2 million acre-feet of water has entered the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta in the past month but the state missed the opportunity to capture 200,000 acre-feet of it.

Florez said Gov. Gavin Newsom needs to prioritize water storage infrastructure the way he managed another persistent problem.

“The real issue for the governor to solve is really taking the same type of approach that he took with wildfires,” Florez said, “making it a priority putting it front and center, getting everyone around the table, saying how are we going to solve this for the next big water [event]? That may be February, who knows? But this is an opportunity for this administration to finally put this as the priority that it should have been.”

The problem, according to Jason Gianquinto, general manager of the Semitropic Water Storage District, is that the state didn’t anticipate this kind of rainfall over such a concentrated period. The state decreed how much water would go where and when, based on the calendar, not real-life weather.

“When they set up that protocol, I think it envisioned one atmospheric river, one significant rain event … and then we’d be business as usual,” he said. “They didn’t envision the scenario we have right now, where we had back to back to back atmospheric rivers and a flooding condition.”

And the governor’s sip-and-gulp approach – sip small amounts for water storage when it’s dry and gulp larger amounts when it’s wetter, wasn’t designed for our current reality, says Semitropic’s Dan Waterhouse.

“From a farmer’s perspective, we’re sitting here going, ‘Hey, this is the time to take a gulp, we’re ready,’ Jason told you all of our systems are ready to go, but we’re offline.”

What does all of this mean for those of us who value water as a quality-of-life visual amenity?

Enjoy it while it’s here because it’s not staying. Downstream lakes are full for a change and that’s nice. Two months ago Truxtun Lake was a barren mud hole. Look at it now.

But, barring an unforeseen and unlikely continuation of this January deluge, the Isabella Dam won’t be releasing enough water from Isabella Lake to put water in the lower Kern, down here in Bakersfield.

“There was some record inflows into Lake Isabella last week,” Gianquinto said, “but there’s a lot of storage capacity behind the newly modified Isabella dam. So they’ve got a huge hole to fill before they start making excess releases in the Kern River.”

It’ll take more than just a succession of storms to get us back to where we need to be, but for the time being, let’s just enjoy it.