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Comments sought on water plan


October 17, 2019 | View PDF

The Shafter Wasco Irrigation District and the North Kern Water Storage District presented their Management Area Plan for groundwater sustainability at a workshop last Thursday at the Shafter Veterans Hall.

The complete plan is open to the public for comment on the districts’ website or the Kern Groundwater Authority website: Comments can be submitted to the Kern Groundwater Authority or the districts; the deadline is Nov. 27.

The plan is required under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.

Michelle Ricker of GEI Consultants went over the plan, and explained that it includes the North Kern Water Storage District, Shafter-Wasco Irrigation District, the cities of Shafter and Wasco, and those portions of the Rosedale Ranch Improvement District that are not part of the Kern River GSA.

Graphs of the existing basin were shown. A historical water budget was presented, showing agricultural and urban demand, and supply from various sources including the Central Valley Project, Kern River, oilfield produced water, banking, precipitation (.42AF/irrigated acre) and native inflow (.15 AF-.30AF/acre). A current water budget was then presented based on 2013-2015 data. Finally, projected water budgets were shown for each district taking into account projected surface supplies, land conversion from agricultural to urban use, and climate change factors.

Sustainability indicators include the chronic lowering of groundwater levels, reduction of groundwater storage, degradation of groundwater quality and land subsidence. Management criteria provides minimum thresholds and measurable objectives, with interim milestones.

The districts have initiated a number of projects to improve water supply and reach sustainability. These include canal improvements, expanded water banking, conveyance improvements to recharge and recovery, and the beneficial reuse of oil field produced water, to name a few.


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