Several public interest groups sued the city of Bakersfield on Wednesday, 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.

Southern California Edison has stopped taking water out of the North Fork of the Kern River for a state fish hatchery that has been closed for nearly two years but added a new diversion that river advocates are calling a “dangerous precedent.”