MEETING NOTES: Bakersfield accrued the most Kern River water last year since buying its river rights in 1976

February 26, 2024
Sonia Lemus, freelance for SJV Water
by Sonia Lemus, freelance for SJV Water
The City of Bakersfield Water Resources Department is proposing to increase its water availability fee by 12.09%. COURTESY: The Bakersfield Californian
Sonia Lemus, freelance for SJV Water
Sonia Lemus, freelance for SJV Water

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* “Meeting Notes” is a new feature focused on Kern County water districts, funded through a grant from the James B. McClatchy Foundation. Please consider supporting SJV Water to continue this important coverage.

Meeting: City of Bakersfield Water board of directors

Date: February 21, 2024.

Agenda and Packet: CLICK HERE

Operations Report: City of Bakersfield Water Board held its first meeting Feb. 21, 2024 after not having met since Aug. 16, 2023. 

The meeting began with a monthly operations report for the month of December by Kristina Budak, the Water Resources Director. Budak highlighted sediment removal done in the Carrier Canal and removing lift heads in Mill Creek. 

Kern River and Lake Isabella Report: Next, Solomon Sackett and Joshua Tristan, with Water Resources, reported that in the 2022-2023 water year (which runs each year from October 1 through September 30) the city accrued 491,086 acre feet in the Kern River – the most since the city’s acquisition of Kern River rights in 1976.

They also reported that the February storms this year have increased snow-water content by almost seven inches so far.

Outflow from Lake Isabella for the 2023-2024 water year, so far, sits at 413 cubic feet per second. Since the start of this water year, inflow into the lake has been above average. It is currently 1,741 cfs.

Turf Replacement Program: In June 2022 Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order prohibiting watering non-functional turf in commercial, industrial, and government sites. Bakersfield already had an existing turf replacement rebate program for residents, but after the order it expanded the program to include commercial and industrial businesses.

After the order was first issued, many trees died as the turf around them could not be watered, according to the city’s report. The city is still working to replace those trees. Because of this, only ornamental, nonfunctional turf that does not surround trees needs to be replaced for drought tolerant options.

It was reported during the meeting that 44,000 square feet of turf has been replaced by drought tolerant plants in the area along Rosedale Highway between Coffee Road and Calloway Drive. 

There has also been 9,352 square feet of turf removal throughout various areas along Stockdale Highway. 

Next up are areas around the Water Resources building on Buena Vista Road just south of Stockdale Highway. 

Action: The board approved a resolution setting a domestic water availability fee for service areas in the City of Bakersfield’s domestic water system. The resolution will be forwarded to the City Council for adoption after a public hearing on March 27, 2024. 

If approved, the fee would increase by 12.09% and become effective March 28, 2024. 

The board also approved changes to its meeting schedule. It will meet every other month instead of monthly, and will start meetings at 12 p.m. instead of 10 a.m.

How to attend: City of Bakersfield Water Board will meet at 12 p.m. on the 3rd Wednesday of every other month at the Water Resources Building Conference Room on 1000 Buena Vista Road.

Sonia Lemus, freelance for SJV Water

SJV Water is an independent, nonprofit news site dedicated to covering water in the San Joaquin Valley. Get inside access to SJV Water by becoming a member.


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