West Kern Water District is a county water district formed by election in 1959. The District is located within the southern San Joaquin Valley and provides municipal and industrial water to a variety of consumers encompassing a 300 square mile area with 7,600 metered accounts including:
- Commercial and domestic customers in western Kern County
- Oil companies for enhanced oil recovery techniques
- Co-generation facilities
The District contracts with the Kern County Water Agency to receive water from the State Water Project. West Kern Water District’s State Water Project entitlement is 31,500 acre feet per year. Water purchased from the state through Kern County Water Agency is used to replenish the groundwater basin beneath the vicinity of the District’s groundwater banking area, which lies adjacent to the Kern River. As a result of varying annual allocations, predetermined by the state, the District may not receive all of its allotted annual state water supply; however payment of one hundred percent of its cost is required. Purchasing water and utilizing the District’s banking program, which is a concept of storing water in wet years into an underground aquifer and extracting in dry years, allows West Kern to compensate for annual shortfalls.
The District’s groundwater banking program is the oldest banking program in Kern County. West Kern’s project began in the early 1960’s as a partnership between West Kern Water District and Buena Vista Water Storage District. The water supply is obtained from eight groundwater wells and is treated before it enters the distribution system of more than 250 miles of pipeline. The District’s infrastructure also includes 11 pumping plants and 25 water storage tanks.
West Kern Water District is governed by a 5 member publicly elected Board of Directors. The Board of Directors is responsible for District policies and decision making, which govern District operations. Elections are held every two years and terms are staggered. Directors serve a four year term of office.