VIDEO: Understanding the Kern River, east to west

November 7, 2022
by Lois Henry
The Kern River has demands from east to west. VIDEO SCREEN SHOT
Lois Henry

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Water on the Kern River works hard from start to finish.

In this Law of the River video, we continue our journey down the river starting at Truxtun Avenue and Coffee Road in the heart of Bakersfield.

The Kern River is mostly dry through Bakersfield as its waters are moved to farms, drinking water plants and to storage ponds to recharge the aquifer beneath the city. The dry river channel is often bounded by canals that are brimming with water. We examine who owns that water and where it’s going in our ongoing video series, Law of the River.

The State Water Resources Control Board has been holding hearings on the Kern River since 2021, which could result in some water changing hands. Back in 2007 a judge ruled the Kern Delta Water District had forfeited some water after the North Kern Water Storage District sued saying Kern Delta hadn’t been using all its rights to the river. The judge agreed, but didn’t say how much water might be available nor who should get it.

Those questions were kicked up to the state Water Board.

As those hearings continue, SJV Water is looking at how the river operates, its history and the people it has served through a series of videos.

You can see all the videos produced so far by going to SJV Water’s home page and clicking on the “Law of the River” box in the middle of the page. Or just click HERE.

Coming next:

  • Why the state is holding hearings on the Kern River and what it could mean for the river’s future.

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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Maven’s Notebook is an excellent daily accounting of California water happenings statewide.