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Discussions about drought and wildfires expected to take over WAKC Water Summit

Posted: 5:48 PM, May 24, 2021
Updated: 2021-06-03 19:48:08-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Discussions around water in California and Kern County continue to ramp up, with the recent droughts, farming, and wildfires.

Tuesday those conversations will continue in the Annual Kern County Water Summit, which is happening virtually due to the pandemic.

The Water Association of Kern County Water Summit becomes quite timely, in the midst of Kern’s extreme drought status.

To help understand all the changes that have impacted our water, and address topics regarding that valuable resource, theDeputy Commissioner Bureau of Reclamation Camille Touton will dive into the Biden Administration’s update on federal water and how it will affect Kern County.


What is a water right?
| Legal permission to use water for things like fishing or farming.
| If your food came from a farm, that farm has a water right.
| If you drink, cook or bathe with water, your city has a water right.

Why have a water summit?
| Allows water rights holders to plan for the future.
| Droughts and other factors can impact water rights.
| From how much water that rights holders can have.
| And how they can get the water.
State Water Resources Board

Impacts of water rights ahead of WAKC Water Summit

The groundwater management department of water resources deputy director, Steven Springhorn will have an update on the Groundwater Management Act and what it means for Kern County.

Jenny Holterman with the WAKC says the reports for SGMA were turned in earlier this year and are in the review process right now.

“As SGMA has been passed and different water laws have been implemented, things are constantly changing,” Holterman said. “So it’s very important to have these experts brought here and to share what this means for our valley and our county.”

The summit will dive into the newly released information on the climate change and water rights report. Water rights law attorney Valerie Kincaid will look further into the legalities of those rights. The summit concludes with award-winning journalist and author Mark Arax delving into the history of water in the west through the lens of his recent book on the topic.

The summit will take place from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday and is open to WAKC members and the public. If you’re interested in attending, tickets are $75 for members and $100 for non-members.