By The Bakersfield Californian
Regarding Lois Henry's June 20 column, "You want water in our river? It's time to act": So, Bakersfield wants to take the river back? Take it back from whom?
There is no excess water, so you have to take it back from somebody. How about the north county farms and the surrounding communities of Shafter, Wasco and even McFarland losing it? Does the city of Bakersfield's environmental impact report say anything about the effects of displacing water from these areas nd running it west of Highway 99, just so you can look at it and inner-tube westward down the river? You can already do that now, just a little upstream.
North Kern Water Storage District has been using this water by a paid agreement since 1952 (and some since 1888). The water is used for farming and also the easing of underground water use by the surrounding communities. If Bakersfield, through state board or court action, were to win the 50,000 acre-feet of water now in question, it would pay nothing for it. I guess that is a real incentive, but the eventual cost of this water displacement will be losses to north Kern farms (equivalent to 17,000 acres lost) and negative effects on the populations of the three northern communities.