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County highlights water conservation programs

The Kern County Board of Supervisors met last week and highlighted two water conservation programs available to Cal Water customers and also implemented a $3,000 premium pay to all county essential workers.

Water conservation is one of the best — and cheapest — ways to respond to the worsening drought. To help Cal Water customers make their landscaping and irrigation systems as efficient as possible, Cal Water just announced two new conservation programs.

Highlights of the new programs include:

• Lawn-to-garden program offers a rebate of $3 per square foot of lawn removed and replaced with drought-tolerant alternatives.

• Spray-to-drip program provides a rebate of $0.50 per square foot of landscaping converted from a standard spray irrigation system to a drip system. Drip irrigation uses 20 to 50 percent less water compared to sprinklers.

These new programs build upon the Smart Landscape Tune-Up Program, which fixes most leaks for customers at no cost, allowing them to save water and money.

These new programs will make it even easier for Cal Water’s customers to reduce water use and save money, all reflective of a commitment to deliver quality, service and value.

More information on all the ways Cal Water is helping customers conserve water is available on its website.

On Aug. 31, the Kern County Supervisors adopted the fiscal year 2021-22 budget, which includes implementing a $3,000 premium pay bonus for all county essential workers, including extra help and part-time employees, who were employed by the county prior to July 1.

The bonuses will be disbursed once the United States Department of Treasury issues its final rule, which is anticipated this fall. Employees who separate prior to that date will not receive the bonus.

This year, Kern County will undergo the process of redistricting in accordance with the 2020 U.S. Census data. Redrawing district lines to reflect Kern’s current population is vital to ensuring each district is representative of the constituents that live therein.

On Tuesday, Sept. 7, county officials had a hybrid of in-person and virtual public hearing to educate the public on the redistricting process and public mapping tools and receive testimony from communities of interest.

Another way to participate in the redistricting process is by drawing maps. The United States Census Bureau will deliver the demographic information essential to the redistricting process by Sept. 30.

Before that date, the public is encouraged to practice utilizing the county’s map-drawing software by printing the provided maps using the online District R map drawing tool. Please visit districtr.org/tag/kern_county to print files and draw desired districts.

Maps can be scanned and submitted to redistricting@kerncounty.com OR dropped off at any Kern County Library during their regularly scheduled hours of operation.

Lastly, members of the public are encouraged to fill out a community of interest form to also be considered in the redistricting process. A community of interest is a group of people that share common social or economic interests, live in a geographically definable area, and should be included within a single district for purposes of effective and fair representation in future elections.

Visit the county’s redistricting website at https://www.kerncounty.com/government/2021-redistricting-menu for more information.