Kern River Valley

Source: CA DWR

Kern River Valley


  • Basin Name
  • Kern River Valley
  • Basin Number
  • 5-025
  • SGMA Basin Priority
  • Very Low
  • Critically Overdrafted
  • No
  • Hydrologic Region Name
  • Tulare Lake
  • Counties
  • Kern
  • Adjacent Basins
  • No items found


Located in California’s Tulare Lake hydrologic region, the Kern River Valley is 74,000 acres in size and ranked medium priority under SGMA. The surrounding land is managed by a number of agencies, including the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service (USFS), Kern County. The  US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) manage the Kern River’s dam. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife oversea endangered species.

Source: CA DWR
Source: CA DWR

Basin Notes

2003: Bulletin 118 basin description 

2007: Tulare Lake Basin Hydrology and Hydrography: A Summary of the Movement of Water and Aquatic Species , U.S. Environmental Protection Agency / ECorp Consulting, Inc.

2011: Kern River Valley Specific Plan

2018: Draft priority – medium. Draft status of the recent reprioritization from low to medium means that public comments have been submitted and are currently being reviewed by DWR staff. Because of the draft reprioritization, a groundwater sustainability agency (GSA) has not been formed, therefore no information is available. The prioritization is expected to be finalized in November.

August 20, 2018 Comment from Kern County requisition reprioritization to low.

Declining groundwater level comment: 1) CASGEM/WDL/GWIDS: Longterm hydrographs show groundwater level decline. Source: DWR 2) Groundwater producers generally pump as much water as is needed to meet demands until water levels drop to a point of declining production. Source:

USGS Water Resources links for the Upper Kern

2018 Final Basin Prioritization: Basin priority remains unchanged at very low.