BAKERSFIELD, CALIFORNIA (KERO) – Whether you are a resident of agriculture or the industrial sector, water supply in California and Kern County will affect your daily life.
“We are indeed in an unexplored area with years of drought,” said Tom McCarthy, director general of the Kern County Water Agency. McCarthy said during the Kern County annual summit on water, drought conditions and conservation efforts will be a top priority.
California is experiencing one of the longest and driest periods with a historic lack of rainfall from January to March. Here, in Kern County, drought conditions remain extreme, as well as throughout the Central Valley. The state now insists on reducing water consumption, but this is proving difficult in an area where water plays a vital role in some of our leading industries.
“The drought does not pass. So we can’t rely on one against the other, it’s all of them, so I think it’s important for our community to save, ”said Jenny Holterman, executive director of the Kern County Water Association.
The Kern Water Summit brings together various sectors such as agriculture and oil to talk about water supply at the local, state and federal levels. Due to the impact of the Kern drought in extreme conditions, and in the state there is a record period without precipitation – water managers are looking for answers.
One such response is groundwater – a long-term reservoir that is underground and can be used when surface water is not available.
“Groundwater is extremely important for use here in Kern County. We all use it, but we all also need to know about its use, “Holterman said.” When agriculture irrigates crops, some of that water returns to the aquifer, so farmers don’t just water their trees, but that water also goes down and helps to replenish the aquifer.
“The region has been one of the leaders in groundwater banking. So when there is a lot of surface water, you get that water and charge it into the ground, ”McCarthy said.
When it comes to agriculture, improving technology and efficiency is what is important for water reliability.
“What water agencies are doing across the state is trying to secure a portfolio of reliable supplies, and it’s been hard. So I think we are all trying to improve our reliability, but this is unexplored territory, ”McCarthy said.
On the municipal and urban side of water conservation changes occur with individual water use.
“Serious changes in record years of humidity to record years of dryness,” McCarthy said.
The water summit takes place on Thursday morning at the Mechanics Bank conference center. This Saturday the community is invited to a nature conservation festival hosted by WAKC and CalWater. It takes place in Yastra Park from 10.00 to 13.00