Coping with Agricultural Shortages

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by James S. Jenks,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Hydraulic Engineering:

Abstract: Coping with agricultural shortages occupies most of the time and energy of the Kern County Water Agency (Agency). The Agency's participation in the State Water Project (SWP) originated to correct ongoing overdraft conditions in Kern County. However, the SWP is not able to fully meet its contract obligations, thus, Kern County continues to cope with shortages in its water supply. These shortages reached their ultimate in 1991 when the SWP reduced agricultural deliveries to zero in Kern County. In response, the Kern County Water Agency conceived and implemented the 1991 Emergency Ground Water Recovery Program to deliver water to four water districts to save permanent crops. The Program provided for advance deliveries of irrigation water from the SWP and subsequent repayment using previously banked water recovered from the ground water basin. Water was recovered using existing Agency wells, new wells constructed in 1991 and wells leased from others. The recovered water was conveyed to the California Aqueduct by operating the Cross Valley Canal in reverse and by constructing a temporary pumping plant to lift water into the Aqueduct from the Buena Vista Aquatic Lake.

Subject Headings: Water shortage | Agriculture | Wells (water) | Water conservation | Aqueducts | Irrigation water | Emergency management | North America | California | United States

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