NEWS

by Lois Henry
Several public interest groups sued the City of Bakersfield Nov. 30 alleging the city has been derelict in its operation of the Kern River by diverting most of its flows to agriculture and other uses leaving a dry riverbed through the heart of town. “The river is dry, but not because of a lack of…
Longtime Westlands Water District General Manager Tom Birmingham announced Nov. 23 that he will retire as of Dec. 31. “I am retiring with extreme pride in the things Westlands had accomplished over the last two decades,” he wrote in an email announcement. Birmingham had faced the likelihood that a newly-elected majority on the Westlands board…
by Jesse Vad, SJV Water
The San Joaquin River is a vital source of water for agriculture and the environment and it is also home to a unique program that hopes to restore native fish runs. It is a complex program and SJV Water was fortunate to take advantage of a tour offered through the Water Education Foundation Nov. 2-3…
by Jesse Vad, SJV Water
A controversial proposed dam seems to have a new pathway forward. But how far will it get through California’s byzantine world of water rights? Nobody seems to agree on an answer.  The Del Puerto Canyon Reservoir is a joint project between the Del Puerto Water District and the San Joaquin River Exchange Contractor Authority on…
The math was not in Tom Birmingham’s favor. It was clear weeks before the Nov. 8 election that the board of the massive Westlands Water District in western Fresno County would be changing. And that change would likely result in the controversial General Manager’s ouster. There were four board seats up for election. A preliminary…
The makeup of the Westlands Water District board will change this election – shifting power to a coalition of growers with a list of new actions, at the top of which appears to be ousting longtime General Manager Tom Birmingham. “There needs to be a change of leadership, that’s a foundational issue,” said Sarah Woolf,…
by Rose Horowitch, SJV Water reporting intern
Two more members of the Kern Groundwater Authority (KGA) announced that they will form their own groundwater sustainability agencies, continuing a pattern of members distancing themselves from Kern County’s largest groundwater agency. The Shafter-Wasco Irrigation District and North Kern Water Storage District will each form their own GSA, it was announced at the Oct. 26…
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Maven’s Notebook is an excellent daily accounting of California water happenings statewide.