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Kern County residents face power blackouts, farmers face water cut-offs

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Posted at 8:18 AM, Jun 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-16 11:18:57-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — California residents may be asked to reduce electricity use this week to avert rolling blackouts amid a heatwave that threatens to strain the state's power grid.

The California Independent System Operator says it should have enough electricity to meet demand and avert outages. But disruptions such as wildfires that burn transmission lines or other unexpected problems could lead to the first flex alert of the year.

Officials say that if an alert is called people would be asked to voluntarily cut electricity use from four to nine p.m. Wednesday and Thursday.

Scorching heat hit the Los Angeles area on Tuesday with temperatures hitting 106 degrees in some areas. People packed the shoreline in Santa Monica trying to cool down.

Temperatures at the beach were in the 90's and were much higher in the San Fernando and inland valleys.

Tuesday was the first day that city of LA pools were open to the public -- so many people jumped in to get some relief from the heat.

"It's scorching. Thank god for a little bit of a/c we get from the ocean. If it wasn't for that, man, it would be terrible," said John Lindo. "But it's really bad and we've got to find ways to get out of the house, you know, swimming, getting behind a cool tree, getting under a cool tree with a cold beverage, something, anything to make it better, you know."

"I'm just looking forward to the rest of the summer. I know that today is the hottest day and this is the first day to come so there's going to be more hot days. So that's why we came here to get in the pool today," added Ladreeya Taylor.

Meanwhile, thousands of Central California farmers are being warned of possible water cutoffs this summer as the state deals with a drought that's already limited federal and state irrigation supplies.

On Tuesday the state Water Resources Control Board warned more than 6,000 farmers in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta watershed of "impending water unavailability" that may continue until winter rains come.

The Sierra Nevada snowpack that is a crucial water supplier was extremely sparse this year.

Governor Gavin Newsom last month declared a drought emergency for much of the state including the Central Valley.