Water Supply Reliability
A major benefit of the Kern Fan Groundwater Storage Project is that it would provide water supply in the event of emergency conditions, such as extreme droughts, delta levee failures, or when other water resources are in severely short supply. The project also would provide Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District and Irvine Ranch Water District with increased, non-emergency water supply reliability during periods when other supply sources may be reduced or interrupted.
Improved Groundwater Sustainability Within Kern County Sub-basin
The Kern Fan Project will assist in achieving groundwater sustainability within the Kern County Sub-basin. By storing additional surface water underground in Kern County, the project would benefit groundwater levels in the Kern County Sub-basin and help support groundwater sustainability efforts required by the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.
- California Delta: Both the State Water Project and the Central Valley Project have been affected by environmental constraints within the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta. This has affected water deliveries south of the Delta. Surplus State Water Project water (Article 21 water), would be stored by the California Department of Water Resources in an “Ecosystem Account.” Through the implementation of exchanges, water stored in the Ecosystem Account would be used by the State of California to alleviate stress on endangered and threatened species in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. The Department of Water Resources, in consultation with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, would determine when water from the Ecosystem Account would be needed for such ecosystem benefits.
- Wetlands for Waterfowl: The Pacific Flyway is a major migration route for waterfowl that extends from Alaska to South America, passing through Canada, California and Mexico. The Central Valley is the most important waterfowl wintering area along the Pacific Flyway. In California, 95% of historic wetlands have been lost. The open water and vegetation that will be provided as intermittent wetlands by the Kern Fan Groundwater Storage Project will provide substantial benefits to wintering waterfowl. Water will typically be recharged at the project sites during the winter months and will provide temporary habitat during wet, above normal, and normal years when recharge activity occurs.
- National Wildlife Refuge: The Bureau of Reclamation has an obligation under the Central Valley Improvement Act to provide water supplies to improve Central Valley refuges and wildlife habitat areas. Currently, the Bureau does not always meet its obligation for water at the Kern National Wildlife Refuge. Excess Section 215 water could be stored and made available to the Bureau of Reclamation for the Kern National Wildlife Refuge.