Water News


Water Tour April 28 – Register here

Thanks to an abundant snow and rainy season, Kern County is brimming with water. You can see evidence of this bounty in the Kern River, canals, ponds and water banks. Have you wondered where the water is coming from, where it’s going and where it will be used?

Join the Water Association of Kern County for a bus tour of local water projects, the Kern River and banking facilities to learn how they are operating in this wet year. Get a behind-the-scenes look at water management and see how Kern County benefits from this most welcome precipitation.


First Point of Measurement on the Kern River
Four Weirs
Water Hub – “The Spaghetti Bowl” – at Coffee Road and Truxtun Extension
Kern Water Bank

$15 box lunch
Register here
(Please wear closed toe, comfortable walking shoes)

Tour begins at 9 a.m. at Mill Creek Park, 21st & R St. in Bakersfield. Park your vehicle there. Bus will depart at 9 a.m. and return at approximately 4 p.m.

Water Summit Presentations

Here are the presentations from the Kern County Water Summit.

Curtis Creel – Kern County Water Agency

Jason Meadors – City of Bakersfield

Jason Pucheu-Maricopa Orchards

Jenifer Pitcher-Western States Petroleum Association

John Austin-Author

Nick Ortiz-Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce

Richard Chapman-Kern Economic Development Corp.

Susan Cordone-Cal Water Service

Tricia Wathen-State Water Resources Control Board, Division of Drinking Water

Thomson, Averett win WAKC awards


Roy Pierucci, left, presents the Water Leader of the Year Award to Eric Averett, general manager of Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District.


Jack Thomson, left, receives the Water Legacy Award from Will Boschman. Thomson received the award for his long-time dedication to water issues in Kern County.

The Water Association of Kern County (WAKC), awarded Jack Thomson, long-time water leader, the first Water Association of Kern County Water Legacy Award at the organization’s annual meeting on November 1. Thomson, an original signatory on the State Water Project and a long-time board member of Kern County Water Agency was recognized for his long dedication to water issues, agriculture and civic responsibility.

Born in Oil Center, CA to John (Jack) Thomson, an immigrant from Scotland, and Naomi Crawford Thomson, who was born on the family farm near Buttonwillow, young Jack and his family moved around southern California during the Depression but ended up back in Buttonwillow by the mid-1930s. Thomson attended Kern County High School and was chosen as one of twelve outstanding seniors in the 1940 class of 780 students.

He attended Bakersfield College then in 1942, went to the University of California at Davis until the campus was taken over by the Signal Corps and closed to academics during World War II. In 1943, he transferred to U.C. Berkeley until he was called into the U.S. Navy Air to begin pilot training. From 1943-46 he trained as a fighter pilot in multi-engine planes. After release from the Navy in 1946, he returned to Davis to complete his degree.

In December 1946, he married Mary Louise Frick and, unfortunately, Mary Lou passed away in October. They would have celebrated 70 years together this December.

Thomson completed his degree at Davis where he graduated in the first class following WWII.

The Thomsons returned to Kern County in November 1947 and began farming. In 1955, he was selected by the U.S. .Junior Chamber of Commerce as one of four outstanding Young Farmers in the nation because of his innovative farming methods, family and community service. In 1957, the family moved from Buttonwillow to the Vineland area where he began to also farm the ranch of his father-in-law, Lloyd Frick.

Thomson served as president of the Kern County Farm Bureau from 1957-1959 and was involved in the establishment of the Water Association of Kern County. From 1962-1982, he served as one of the first members of the board of the Kern County Water Agency and is a signatory on the State Water Project contract for Kern County. During his 21 consecutive years of service, he served as President of the agency board three times. Also at this time, he was a member of the Kern County Civil Service Commission, served on the board of the Bear Mountain Winery, Arvin Congregational Church and was elected to the board of trustees of the Vineland School District.

In 1982 Governor Deukmejian appointed Thomson to the California Water Commission where he served until 1990. From 1982-94, he served on the Board of Directors for Cotton Incorporated and chaired the International Marketing Committee. From 1983-98, he was a member of the Board of Directors of the California Living Museum and served as President one term and later joined the CALM Foundation Board. From 1992-2000, he was a member of the Board of Directors of the Supima Cotton Board. He has been a member of the Chancellor’s Club at UC Davis since 1976.

Also honored at the annual meeting was Eric Averett, general manager of Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District who received the 2016 Water Leader of the Year Award. Averett has been active in the water community since the early 1990s and has a B.S. degree in Environmental Resource Management from California State University Bakersfield. He has served as adjunct professor for the Kern Community and Taft Community College systems since 1999 where he teaches classes on physical and chemical processes in water treatment.

He also teaches water -related courses throughout California and Nevada for the American Water Works Association and is certified as a Treatment and Distribution Operator with the State of California at the T5/D5 level.

He has been a general manager of a water district since 2008 but made his mark more recently serving as chair of the Kern River Watershed Coalition and manager of the Kern Groundwater Authority. These mammoth efforts cover very difficult topics and challenges and Averett was honored for showing leadership and perseverance in managing so many varying interests and positions.

New WAKC Board of Directors

A new Water Association of Kern County Board of Directors was elected November 1 at the organization’s 61st annual meeting. Guest speaker was Jeffrey Kightlinger, General Manager at Metropolitan Water District of Southern California .

The new board is:

Jeanne Varga, President, Consultant
Bill Taube, First Vice President, Wheeler Ridge-Maricopa Water Storage District
Gene Lundquist, Second Vice President, Kern County Water Agency
Dana Munn, Treasurer, Shafter-Wasco Irrigation District
Larry Rodriguez, Secretary, GEI Consultants
Beth Pandol, Executive Director

Executive Committee
Kim Brown, Wonderful Orchards
Ernest Conant, Young Wooldridge LLP
David Couch, Kern County Board of Supervisors
Steve Dalke, Kern-Tulare Water District
Jason Gianquinto, Semitropic Water Storage District
John Moore, Kern County Farm Bureau
Tim Ruiz, East Niles Community Services District
Harry Starkey, West Kern Water District

David Ansolabehere, Cawelo Water District
Joe Ashley, California Resources Corp.
Eric Averett, Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District
Les Clark, Independent Oil Producers
Angelica Martin, Tejon Ranch
Jason Meadors, City of Bakersfield Water Resources Department
Mark Mulkay, Kern Delta Water District
Denise Newton, Pacific Gas & Electric Co.
David Nixon, Arvin-Edison Water Storage District
Doug Nunneley, Oildale Mutual Water Company
Scott Thayer, Castle & Cooke, Inc.
Rudy Valles, California Water Service Company

Groundwater and Geology to be Surveyed Using Low-flying Helicopter in Southern San Joaquin Valley

What: A low-flying helicopter under contract to the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the California State Water Resources Control Board, will begin collecting and recording geophysical measurements for scientific research purposes.

Where: Southern San Joaquin Valley, California with focused efforts near the towns of Lost Hills, Buttonwillow and Cawelo. Additional surveying will occur along the San Andreas fault near Parkfield.

When: Starting on or about September 30, 2016, and lasting one to two weeks.

Residents of these areas should expect to see a low-flying helicopter towing a large wire-loop hanging from a cable in the southern San Joaquin Valley and a part of the San Andreas fault near Parkfield, California during the next couple of weeks.

The work is expected to start September 30 and will last about 1 or 2 weeks with a low-flying helicopter collecting and recording geophysical measurements for scientific research purposes.

The SkyTEM helicopter-borne geophysical system will collect measurements in the southern San Joaquin Valley, with focused efforts near the towns of Lost Hills, Buttonwillow, and Cawelo, California. Additional surveying will also occur along the San Andreas fault system near Parkfield. These surveys entail flying relatively low to the ground (hundreds of feet above the surface) in a uniform pattern to measure electrical properties of the earth. Data collected during this survey will assist USGS scientists in mapping groundwater salinity, aquifer properties and faults.

SkyTEM ApS, a specialty airborne geophysical company, will conduct the geophysical survey. Experienced pilots, who are specially trained for low-level flying required for geophysical surveys, will be operating the helicopter. The company works with the Federal Aviation Administration to ensure flights are in accordance with U.S. law.

More information about this project can be found here:
http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/ water_issues/programs/groundwater/sb4/regional_monitoring/in dex.shtml

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Water Fact

January 2015 was one of the driest months on record in California.

Join the Water Association of Kern County

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The Water Association of Kern County is embarking upon a new, stronger effort to educate the general public about water issues that effect Kern County. A newly designed website, videos, Facebook and Twitter are all methods that will be used as a way of reaching the public. Messages will be simple and clear and provide many sources of information about water so that citizens  and policy makers can become informed and be better decision makers. Learn More ▸

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