Local News

Monday, Mar 03 2014 12:00 PM

'First Look': More than water conservation needed to combat California's drought

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    Scott Cox talks with Beth Brookhart Pandol, executive director of the Water Association of Kern County, and Californian Executive Editor Robert Price about water on "First Look with Scott Cox."

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    Beth Brookhart Pandol, executive director of the Water Association of Kern County, talks about the state of water with Californian Executive Editor Robert Price on "First Look with Scott Cox."

    click to expand click to collapse
By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN

Conservation is never going to solve California's drought problem. You can conserve all you want, but in the end, you have to have conveyance systems, storage, and the ability to move water around the state to the people who need it.

That is what Water Association of Kern County Executive Director Beth Brookhart Pandol said Monday on "First Look with Scott Cox." Pandol advocates for water conservation -- but said conservation alone won't solve California's critical drought.

When asked if fines for wasting water are eminent in Kern County, Pandol said she had not heard about any permanent decisions except for Wasco, which is implementing water use restrictions beginning Tuesday.

"There is no indication that it will be mandatory but we encourage people to conserve water," Pandol said of other areas in Kern.

The WAKC educates the public about important water issues, she said.

Pandol noted that agriculture is one of the biggest water users in Kern County and many farmers are not getting the water they are paying for from the state.

According to Pandol, Kern County growers and farmers are paying an $87 million bill for water they are not getting.

"They are paying for not only the water they are not getting but are having to pay for water they have to go find," she said.

Simulcast host Scott Cox asked Pandol if it rained for 10 consecutive years, would that help ease the state out of a drought?

"If we had more storage it would, if we could build some reservoirs and dams," Pandol said.

Many row crops that we usually see grown in California, like carrots, melons, or hay, will most likely not be planted this year because of the drought, Pandol said.

Pandol's also heavily involved in the Kern County Nut Festival, which she said will return to the Kern County Museum on June 7.

One of the favorites is the nut-theme food prepared by local restaurants, Pandol said. For more information, visit www.kcmuseum.org.

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