Kern groundwater tally not adding up

 •  by Lois Henry
Kern Groundwater
Water is pumped onto the Kern Water Bank at a station west of Enos lane in June 2019

San Joaquin Valley farms and towns have pumped the basin’s groundwater so furiously and for so long that parts of the valley are sinking, endangering roads and bridges and even breaking one of the main canals that brings in water to support local agriculture.

Yet, here in Kern County, state-mandated water budgets presented by several large ag water districts and groundwater sustainability agencies have painted a far rosier groundwater picture.

So rosy, the numbers simply couldn’t be believed — and they aren’t.

“It’s obvious that some districts have created water with their paperwork,” Kern Groundwater Authority Chair Dennis Mullins said in reference to the budgets, which are part of groundwater sustainability plans submitted by the board’s member agencies.

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Lois Henry
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