State flood responders are still planning for the worst, but newly released inundation models are predicting a less dramatic and less damaging snow melt as California heads into the summer months.
The Kern River is rising fast and, so far, the public hasn’t been given very good information on the one question on everyone’s mind: Where’s it going to flood?
LOIS HENRY: Kern River water will go into California Aqueduct to spare Tulare Lake; flows to ramp up mid-June
For the first time in 17 years, the Kern River “intertie” will be opened Monday to release Kern River floodwater into the California Aqueduct, according to the river’s watermaster.
The best marketing team in the country could not have timed the release of Gene Verbeet’s and Larry M. Holochwost’s latest history book better.
CLOSED: Public is told to stay out of most valley rivers; closure on portion of the Kern tries to make room for rafters
This year’s epic runoff into San Joaquin Valley rivers is creating a tricky tightrope for local agencies tasked with keeping the public safe.
It may seem like a no-brainer to enthusiastically allow the Kern Water Bank Authority to take up to 300,000 acre feet of flood water off the Kern River and store it underground as water managers scramble to find homes for this year’s epic runoff.
The heavily overgrown Kern River flood channel that heads north past Highway 46 and eventually meanders into the southern end of the Tulare Lake bed is filling with water.
The Army Corps of Engineers will temporarily drop outflows from Isabella Dam to zero starting at midnight Wednesday so the power plant at the dam can shut down, according to Kern River Watermaster Mark Mulkay.
It isn’t just water that’s been barreling down the Kern River in this historic water year.
Those highly noticeable big black tubes being placed in the Kern River at Coffee Road are the fulcrum in a full-court press by Buena Vista Water Storage District to keep as much water as possible in the county.
Speaker after speaker on Tuesday noted the yearslong construction project to increase safety on Isabella Dam was completed this past October — just in time.
The possibility of a prolonged warm spell this spring is weighing on Kern River Watermaster Mark Mulkay’s mind these days.
LOIS HENRY: Flooding out other farmers was ‘premeditated’ by the powerful J.G. Boswell Company, one farmer asserts
By the time Erik Hansen had a moment to sit down in a Corcoran pizza parlor on a recent afternoon, the fifth-generation farmer was tired, detached and a little defeated-looking.
Jack Mitchell’s phone is ringing off the hook these days, but he almost always picks up.
The drama was high on the Tulare Lake bed Saturday as flood waters pushed some landowners to resort to heavy handed and, in one instance, illegal tactics, to try and keep their farm ground dry — even at the expense of other farmers and some small communities.
Isabella Lake could be the next Central Valley reservoir to “fill and spill” as it is rising rapidly, with an estimated 2 million acre-feet of water hunkered down in a record high snowpack and more storms coming.
If the coming storm hits as predicted starting late Thursday, San Joaquin Valley flooding hot spots — and some new ones thanks to subsidence — could be swamped.
Six San Joaquin Valley groundwater agencies learned Thursday they could be subject to state enforcement action if they don’t redo plans to bring their aquifers back into balance.
Most Lamont residents likely had no idea that a mini hoopla held in the middle of town Monday morning next to a newly constructed well was actually a celebration of their children’s and their grandchildren’s futures.
LOIS HENRY: Funding to protect valley towns from flooding yanked out of budget even as climate change increases threat
The same day that water gushed over the banks of Miles Creek swamping the small town of Planada in Merced County last month, the Newsom administration pulled $40 million out of its proposed budget that was intended for flood protection projects in the San Joaquin Valley.
JESSE VAD AND LOIS HENRY: Storms bring river flows, frustration for San Joaquin Valley water managers
The string of wet storms streaming over California since the end of 2022 have brought the San Joaquin Valley both relief and frustration, depending on location.
An observant reader emailed SJV Water recently asking about a well he noticed near Calloway Drive that was pumping water into the brimful Cross Valley Canal just north of the dry Kern River “all summer long and beyond.”
Water, or the lack of it, was a major topic in California over 2022 — the third year of exceptional drought throughout the Western United States.
You probably didn’t notice a twin-engine prop plane loaded with high-tech equipment circling 23,000 feet over the San Joaquin Valley’s upper watersheds this fall. But it was there, gathering information about those watersheds in their “snow off” condition.
In an attempt to stop groundwater from being mined and sold beyond its borders, the Kings County Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance Nov. 29 that will require anyone moving groundwater outside of Kings to get a permit.
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.
If Eric Averett maintains his lead over incumbent Phil Cerro for a seat on the powerful Kern County Water Agency board, it may prove just how effective a campaign statement can be.
The Kern River isn’t special.
A long simmering water war between two of the San Joaquin Valley's biggest farming entities blew up over groundwater Wednesday when the state rejected the region’s plan to shore up its declining aquifer.
In a fast-paced trip through the evolution of California’s water rights, attorney Valerie Kincaid explained how the system has gone from the “wild, wild west” to one pervaded by ever greater government creep.
Several public interest groups have issued a direct challenge to Bakersfield over the Kern River alleging the city has not lived up to its responsibilities to address the public trust.
Art Chianello, who has led Bakersfield’s Water Resources Department through two of the state’s worst droughts and one of its wettest years on record, is retiring at the end of September.
Would-be challenger Eric Averett said he is “withdrawing” from the race for a seat on the powerful Kern County Water Agency board of directors.
The drying lakes at the Park at River Walk and along Truxtun Avenue have stirred a lot of controversy over the impact to wildlife, but also over what people see as a lopsided division of pain during this very painful drought.
The J.G. Boswell Company pumps, on average, 100,000 acre-feet of groundwater a year from beneath its lands covering the old Tulare Lake Bed, according to a Boswell employee.
There’s no word, yet, of state intervention in the ongoing water war between two of Kings County’s largest growers — John Vidovich and the J.G. Boswell Co. — but there has been fallout.
The usually sleepy race for the Kern County Water Agency board of directors perked up this month after a challenger filed papers to run for the Division 4 seat.
The prospect of being sent to California’s “groundwater cop” strikes dread in the hearts of most water managers.
Drought cut short a pilot program to bring South Fork Kern River water through Lake Isabella and down 60 miles to farmland northwest of Bakersfield.
The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority in eastern Kern County has signed a “letter of intent” to buy the rights to 750 acre-feet of state water for $6,396,000 from a State Water Project contractor in Kings County.
Water managers in the San Joaquin Valley who regularly work with residents of poor, rural communities facing water insecurity are applauding a sharply critical audit of the state Water Resources Control Board.
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.”
Kern County water managers are, for the most part, sticking with the proposed Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta tunnel but are keeping an eye on details still to come — how it will actually operate and how much the water will cost.
As water in the North Fork of the Kern River dwindles, controversy over its diminished flows is ramping up.
The lake at the Park at River Walk is fast disappearing, as are the Truxtun Lakes.
Farmers in southern Tulare County on June 30 soundly rejected a proposed land fee that would have helped pay a lump sum settlement of $125 million toward fixing the Friant-Kern Canal, which has sunk because of excessive groundwater pumping.
Bakersfield city water managers learned from California’s last “epic” drought — don’t wait to make a deal.
A group of water districts clustered on the western edge of Kern County that are currently members of the Kern Groundwater Authority (KGA) announced they will form their own groundwater sustainability agency.
The federal government did not breach its contract when it gave water users a zero water allocation in the extreme drought year of 2014, according to a ruling issued June 6 in Federal Claims Court.
It’s been more than 100 years since a 16-mile stretch of the North Fork of the Kern River has run full and free in its natural course.