NEWS

Fractures have appeared within Kern County’s largest groundwater agency as pressure mounts for it to show the state how it plans to address the region’s massive groundwater deficit. Four water entities recently notified the Kern Groundwater Authority they were pulling out of the 16-member group to write their own groundwater sustainability plan. That will add…
by Jesse Vad, SJV Water
Multiple San Joaquin Valley groundwater projects got a significant shot of state funding this week to kickstart recharge, and other, projects. On Monday, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced $150 million was awarded to 20 agencies through its first round of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Grant Program. That includes almost $84 million for 11…
Kern River watershed watcher Scott Williams put out what will be his final Kern River Snow and Water Report May 3 and the news was grim. The predicted run off for the Kern River has dwindled from an already meager 33% of normal last month to a downright miserly 28% of normal this month. The…
by Jesse Vad, SJV Water
An infusion of state cash will plug several leaky drinking water systems that serve rural communities in the San Joaquin Valley in the near future. The money, $22 million, comes from the Small Community Drought Relief Program under the Department of Water Resources (DWR). That money will fund 17 projects throughout the state, with about…
Advocates are sounding the alarm for what they think could be the collapse of the San Joaquin Valley’s agriculture workforce. As drought continues to hammer the state and groundwater pumping restrictions take effect, farmland will need to be retired en masse.  While there have been many conversations, including legislation, on how to support farmers during…
by Jesse Vad and Lois Henry, SJV Water
Gov. Newsom’s emergency drought order that singled out agricultural wells for extra scrutiny is continuing to cause confusion and angst in some parts of the San Joaquin Valley, while other areas are stutter-stepping forward. Selma raisin farmer Tony Panoo was happy to finally have his well drilled on Monday after several tense weeks when his…
A sale of agricultural water within the Panoche Water District on the upper west side of the San Joaquin Valley hit the eye-popping price of $2,000 per acre foot recently. The buyer bought 668 acre feet in a deal that was brokered by Nat DiBuduo with Alliance Ag Services. The buyer, whose name was withheld,…
The lower Kern River earned the dubious distinction of being named one of the country’s 10 “most endangered rivers,” according to American Rivers, a national environmental group that has highlighted rivers suffering pollution and other threats for the past 36 years. The group listed “excessive water withdrawls” as the main threat to the lower Kern,…
Kern County agricultural water districts are giving major side-eye to one of their own over what’s known as “minimum threshold” groundwater levels The grumbling is aimed at the sprawling Semitropic Water Storage District in northwest Kern, where minimum thresholds are set, in some cases, at levels that would allow farmers to pump down the water…
Valley groundwater agencies are mired in confusion and concern over Gov. Newsom’s March 28 executive drought order, which added new steps for permitting agricultural wells, according to agencies’ staff.  As groundwater agency managers scramble to hash out exactly how to comply with the order, well permits in some areas are stuck in limbo leaving well…
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Maven’s Notebook is an excellent daily accounting of California water happenings statewide.