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Kern County Water Summit looks for solutions to California's drought

California Drought (FILE)
California Drought (FILE)
California Drought (FILE)
California Drought (FILE)
California Drought (FILE)
Posted at 6:41 PM, May 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-19 22:21:08-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — State officials say the 2021 water year was the second driest year in California history. And in Kern County residents are dealing with extreme drought conditions.

On Thursday, a forum brought people together to help combat those water shortage challenges.

About 300 water professionals from different industries gathered for the 6th Annual Kern County Water Summit to discuss the state of water across California and Kern County.

The goal of the summit is to bring people from different areas together to address drought concerns and brainstorm possible solutions to the water crisis in our community. And with agriculture being one of the main industries in Kern County, Aaron Hegde, an economics professor at California State University Bakersfield, says there are ways that residents can conserve water that could help growers.

“Every drop counts and helps. So if you’re spending 85% of your water to water green lawn in an area that’s technically a desert, because we get less than 6 inches of rain here, that doesn’t make sense. It’s not a sustainable thing. Xeriscaping, or using less water or using gray water and all those things, those things help because every gallon that you don’t use is a gallon that a farmer can use.”

The event was virtual last year and returned in person this time at Mechanics Bank Arena hosted by the Water Association of Kern county. The speakers addressed issues such as other conservation efforts across the county, water efficiency and rebate programs, and how regulations due to the water shortage have impacted the costs for farmers.

Coming up at 11 p.m., hear more about the specific economic impacts discussed and why attendees say they came out.