Water shortage in state affects Kern County

With a severe water shortage around the state, local water officials say Kern County is in crisis mode.

BAKERSFIELD, CA - With a severe water shortage around the state, local water officials say Kern County is in crisis mode.

With the lack of water and rainfall, county firefighters say putting out wildfires won't be easy.

Officials with the Kern County Water Agency say the water shortage is so bad, this is the driest year on record for Lake Isabella.

Water officials are urging the community to conserve water. They say a water shortage is hitting the community hard.

"We're getting 35 percent of what we have contracted for. That means for Kern County, instead of receiving a million acre feet, we're getting 350,000 acre feet," said Curtis Creel, Kern County Water Agency.

Creel says some of the shortage is due to problems with the delta, including certain restrictions implemented by fish and wildlife agencies.

"It brings water from northern California down along the west side of the valley. It also provides water supply for 25 million Californians throughout the state, so it's an important part of our water project," continued Creel.

But, with the majority of water not there, he says the impact is big.

Creel says the shortage also has to do with dry conditions throughout the state.

Corey Wilford with the Kern County Fire Department says with conditions like we are experiencing, it makes it hard to fight fires.

"Where we normally see the water shortage play into our scenario is fuel volatility. It's going to be are the fuels dry? How dry are they? Do they get adequate rainfall they needed the previous year? If they didn't get the adequate rainfall they needed, how are we going to plan on them reacting? What's their fuel content? What's their fuel moisture?," said Wilford.

Creel says the amount of water Kern County receives is based on its contract with the California State Water Project.

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