The water situation in Kern County is unbelievable. Not only are we getting less rain, but our State's track record of mismanaging our water resources is exacerbating the problem. The only solution that our County and State leaders have is to ask residents to conserve water, but that is not enough.
The citizens of Kern County have done everything asked of them. They have removed grass, installed water-conscious appliances, and taken shorter showers. Now in our mountain communities, they are not even allowed to water their defensible space. Nevertheless, we do not use enough water to be able to save enough. For perspective, if we used 15% less water, that results in only a .63% water savings statewide. This means that real solutions have to come from ending the policies of mismanagement at the State and County level.
Nevertheless, I believe that Kern County has the potential to lead the State forward and out of this unfortunate situation. First, when elected, I will force the Kern County Government to lead the way and be a better example. I will propose that all decorative grass be removed from County grounds and replaced with desert landscaping, not only to save water, but to end the current policy of asking our citizens to conserve when the government is unwilling to do so. Second, I will no longer allow desert solar projects to be approved. They are using millions of gallons of water just to stop dust from going from the ground to the solar panels, a monumental waste of resources. Instead, I will move these solar panels on top of irrigation canals, saving water, reducing evaporation, and securing the same amount of renewable energy. Third, I will invest in our County's resources by helping Oil Companies adopt technology to reuse water from their fields and by utilizing new water-management systems that could save 75% of the water used by young non-bearing fruit and nut trees. Finally, I will encourage innovative infrastructure improvements such as a new gutter system that allows water to pass while leaving behind contaminants.
The reality is that Kern County is getting less rain, and we cannot simply rely on the same tactics we have always used. I have lived in the Central Valley most of my life, and since I was young, we have had challenging water issues that required the utmost attention. I cannot tell you a time that I do not remember seeing the "save our water" signs as you drive up the 99. However, to do the same thing over and over is the definition of insanity. Kern County deserves a County Supervisor that is not afraid to think outside the box and who has new and promising ideas. If something does not change, our children may one day run for office on the platform of "saving our water."