NEWS

Longtime Westlands Water District General Manager Tom Birmingham announced Nov. 23 that he will retire as of Dec. 31. “I am retiring with extreme pride in the things Westlands had accomplished over the last two decades,” he wrote in an email announcement. Birmingham had faced the likelihood that a newly-elected majority on the Westlands board…
The Water Association of Kern County held its annual meeting and dinner Nov. 9 where it awarded its “Water Leader of the Year” and “Water Legacy Awards” to two longtime figures in the local farming and water worlds. Following is the association’s press release: BAKERSFIELD, CA – The Water Association of Kern County proudly presented…
The math was not in Tom Birmingham’s favor. It was clear weeks before the Nov. 8 election that the board of the massive Westlands Water District in western Fresno County would be changing. And that change would likely result in the controversial General Manager’s ouster. There were four board seats up for election. A preliminary…
The makeup of the Westlands Water District board will change this election – shifting power to a coalition of growers with a list of new actions, at the top of which appears to be ousting longtime General Manager Tom Birmingham. “There needs to be a change of leadership, that’s a foundational issue,” said Sarah Woolf,…
Art Chianello, who has led Bakersfield’s Water Resources Department through two of the state’s worst droughts and one of its wettest years on record, is retiring at the end of September. Most municipal water departments are fairly quiet operations. As long as water comes out of taps, not many people pay attention. But the Bakersfield…
There’s no word, yet, of state intervention in the ongoing water war between two of Kings County’s largest growers – John Vidovich and the J.G. Boswell Company – but there has been fallout. Kimberly Brown, a board member of  the Southwest Kings Groundwater Sustainability Agency, resigned August 10 in protest of last-minute language added to…
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