Valley irrigation district OKs plan to harvest mountain stream

 •  by Lois Henry
Cattle graze on the Onyx Ranch above Isabella Lake along the South Fork of the Kern River. CREDIT: Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District.

A plan to bring water from the South Fork of the Kern River through Isabella Lake and down 60 miles to farm fields west of Bakersfield was unanimously approved by the Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District board of directors on Tuesday.

If the environmental documents supporting that plan survive what is sure to be a barrage of lawsuits brought by other Kern River rights holders, Rosedale-Rio Bravo farmers could see South Fork water in their furrows as early as this spring, according to Rosedale-Rio Bravo General Manager Eric Averett. (Assuming there’s water available in this very dry year.)

Given the tenor of the opposition letters, however, that may be optimistic.

“Rosedale has failed to contact or communicate in any way with the City,” writes Colin Pearce, an attorney with Duane Morris, who represents Bakersfield on water issues, in a letter opposing certification of the environmental documents.

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Lois Henry

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