SCV Water opens six new wells near Bakersfield, uncorking “banked” water for SCV

SCV Water Agency board members pose in front of the well and pumping system unveiled in Bakersfield Monday, left to right are Vice President Maria Gutzeit, President Bill Cooper and Vice President Gary Martin. Courtesy Photo, Kathie Martin, spokeswoman for the SCV Water Agency.

Under an agreement to “bank” water outside of the Santa Clarita Valley, local water officials opened six new wells near Bakersfield this week, giving them direct immediate access to the water earmarked for the SCV.

On Monday, with much fanfare and ribbon-cutting, SCV Water and its water banking partners, Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District and Irvine Ranch Water District, opened six new groundwater wells and a conveyance system to the Cross Valley Canal in Kern County.

“The project and partnership is part of the Drought Relief Project,” SCV Water Board President Bill Cooper said Wednesday. “The focus is on developing the capacity to recover water during dry years and long-term droughts or other major emergencies.” 

The banked water supplies are stored in natural, underground aquifers in Kern County, about a hundred miles from Santa Clarita. The supplies are available to SCV Water, independent of how little rain or snowpack is provided by mother nature.

This single project provides for more than triple the current recovery capacity. 

With the new wells, SCV Water now has direct access to 10,000 acre-feet per year from the water banking program, greatly enhancing SCV’s water supply reliability in the critically dry years. 

Once the water is pumped from the new wells, it is conveyed to the Cross Valley Canal and then to the State Water Project for delivery into Santa Clarita from Castaic Lake. 

One acre-foot equals about 326,000 gallons, or enough water needed to cover a football field one foot deep. It serves one to two households for a year.

The approximately $9.7 million project was substantially funded by Proposition 1 which provides grant funding for projects that help meet the long-term water needs of the state, including water supply reliability and resiliency.

 “Our ongoing relationship with Rosedale and IRWD provided an opportunity to cost effectively build those wells,” said Dirk Marks, director of water resources for SCV Water. 

“Additionally, we were able to use $4.58 million in grant funding through the California Department of Water Resources to help pay for the project.”

This project is one piece of SCV Water’s water supply portfolio. 

About half the water supplied to consumers in the SCV comes from local groundwater and half from Northern California via the State Water Project.
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