Two groundwater storage projects proposed in Kern County won funding commitments July 24 from the California Water Commission.
The Kern Fan Groundwater Storage Project, proposed southwest of Rosedale Highway and Enos Lane, was approved for almost $86 million. The other project — Willow Springs Water Bank, planned for the Mojave Desert about 12 miles west of Rosamond — was OK'd for more than $123 million.
The Kern Fan project was proposed jointly by the Irvine Ranch Water District and the Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District. It would store up to 100,000 acre-feet of water from the State Water Project. One acre-foot is enough to cover an acre of land with one foot of water.
The Willow Springs project, proposed by the Southern California Water Bank Authority, would leverage half a million acre-feet in existing underground aquifers for the benefit of the State Water Project.
Money for the projects will come from Proposition 1, a $7.5 billion bond measure state voters approved in November of 2014.
The two Kern County projects were among eight statewide to receive approval July 24 by the water commission. Together, they are expected to create 4.3 million acre-feet in new water storage capacity, at a cost of $2.7 billion in Prop. 1 money.
Each of the projects must secure final permits, environmental documentation and the balance of their funding from sources other than Prop. 1 by 2022.
A water commission spokeswoman said both of the Kern projects are expected to be operational by about 2020.