MEETING NOTES: Wheeler Ridge-Maricopa Water Storage District still wrangling water from 2023 supply

January 8, 2024
Sonia Lemus, freelance for SJV Water
by Sonia Lemus, freelance for SJV Water
CVP: Central Valley Project. CVC: Cross Valley Canal. KCWA SWP: Kern County Water Agency, State Water Project.
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: Wheeler Ridge-Maricopa board of directors

Date: Dec. 13, 2023

Agenda and Packet: CLICK HERE

Major topic: Carryover and Recharge Activities

Background: “Carryover” refers to water that State Water Project contractors can hold in San Luis Reservoir from their previous year’s allocation. 

The Department of Water Resources calculates how much each contractor can carry over each year based on a number of factors such as making sure there’s enough room in the lake for anticipated winter precipitation and providing enough freshwater flow through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to maintain water quality.

It’s also complicated for water districts that want to keep enough carryover water in San Luis to hedge against a dry season but not so much that they run the risk of having their water “spill.”

“Spill” can happen if there’s too much carryover water in the lake, and it’s a wet winter. In that case, DWR stops pumping from the delta, instead allowing those flows to run out the San Francisco Bay. That water is then lost to contracting districts.

In a previous Wheeler Ridge meeting, directors were frustrated by what they said was a miscalculation of carryover by DWR that caused them to pull more water out of San Luis than was needed. Most of that water was recharged back into the aquifer using space in the Kern Water Bank.

Discussion: Eric McDaris, water resource manager for Wheeler Ridge, asked the board if the district should stop recharging on Dec. 31. 

One board member asked what would happen if the district stopped immediately (as of the meeting date, Dec. 13). McDaris replied that there would be capacity, or enough room, for approximately 32,000 acre feet of carryover. If the district stopped on Dec. 31, there would be 25,000 acre feet of capacity.

Stopping immediately and allowing second priority water users in the district to recharge was also brought up as an option. 

District  Action: The district agreed to continue recharging through Dec. 31 and then allow second priority water users to recharge up to 15,000 acre feet of water.

How to attend: Wheeler Ridge meets at 8 a.m. on the 2nd Wednesday of each month at its office, 12109 Hwy 166, or online at 

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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