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Water odds and ends

 •  by Lois Henry

It’s all about water. At least this column will be. If you haven’t read the big, giant water bill that had Sen. Barbara Boxer’s panties in a big, giant twist, I encourage you to give it a skim. That bill has everything in it. Sure, it has provisions that will authorize some operational changes in the Sacramento-San…

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Federal System

One more try for federal fixes to California’s water woes

 •  by Lois Henry

Local water folks are hopeful, but not holding their breath, that the latest congressional effort to move a little more water down the pike from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta will actually succeed. Even if it does, I’m sure environmental activists already have their lawyers prepped and ready for launch. But it’s the holidays, so who…

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Groundwater

New groundwater world a scary, confusing place

 •  by Lois Henry

The county continued its pattern on Tuesday of declaring itself a Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) over the exact boundaries previously declared a GSA by water agencies. To date, the Kern Board of Supervisors has “filed over” five nascent GSAs, creating a lot of grumbling and ill will along the way. (I’ll get back to that.)…

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Groundwater

Dry wells in Rosedale get help but make me wonder

 •  by Lois Henry

I checked in with Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District recently to see how its “dry well” program was going. It’s steady. Meaning the agricultural water district is still getting a steady influx of claims from owners of wells that have gone dry. Not because of the drought, per se. But because of how groundwater has…

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Groundwater

Longtime water foes join forces

 •  by Lois Henry

There’s nothing like a common enemy to bring warring parties together. That was never more true than with the City of Bakersfield and Kern Delta Water District, which agreed this week to form a joint Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA). As part of the alliance, they both agreed to drop long-running lawsuits against each other. And…

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Rivers

Kern River at its lowest in 2,000 years

 •  by Lois Henry

A new study confirms that 2015 saw the Kern River run at its lowest level since Jesus walked the earth. “Although there have been longer droughts, the 2015 water year represents the driest in the last 2,015 years and the 2012–2015 drought represents the driest four-year period in the record,” the study states. The study,…

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UncategorizedWater Markets

It’s all about water markets

 •  by Lois Henry

Almonds take too much water. Wait, alfalfa is the bad guy. What about those water hogging geeks in Silicon Valley? No, no, no — that “evil” fracking is to blame. If it’s a day that ends in “y,” Californians are finding new water guzzling bogeymen to vilify. Meanwhile, economists are quietly shaking their heads. All…

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Federal System

Local water districts feel cheated by ‘exchange’

 •  by Lois Henry

Oh, the fascinating stuff our protracted drought is revealing. I’m not talking about tires and old town foundations at the bottom of California’s reservoirs. This drought is also putting long-held assumptions about water rights under intense scrutiny. In this instance, a dispute over how the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has administered a contract spanning more…

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Development

How water from Kern grows sprawl in Madera

 •  by Lois Henry

So, a pile of water banked in Kern County is being used to support a massive urban development in Madera County. Before you try and wrap your head around how that’s geographically possible, there’s the whole question of whether the banked water (and other water slated for the project) even can be used for that purpose. Then…

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