A Kern County water agency is looking to purchase water from a state contractor located in Kings County.
Earlier this week, the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority, located in eastern Kern County, signed a letter of intent to buy the lifetime rights to 750 acre-feet of Kings River water from Utica J.L.J. LLC.
SJV Water first reported the deal.
Utica J.L.J. is a State Water Project contractor located in Kings County that is developing a truck stop and industrial center south of Kettleman City on a 400-acre location at Utica Ave. and Interstate 5.
The deal requires approval from the Dudley Ridge Water District and the Department of Water Resources and will total $6.4 million.
The cost per acre-foot would come to $8,528, and the deal will not be a one-time purchase, but rather a permanent sale.
This is not the first time that state water from Dudley Ridge has been permanently sold.
In 2009, water giant John Vidovich sold 14,000 acre-feet of state contracted water to the Mojave Water District in Apple Valley for $77 million, coming out to $5,500 per acre-foot.
While the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority is not a state contractor, the water publication reported that it has held discussions with the Antelope Valley-East Kern Water Agency to store the Dudley Ridge water.
A feasibility study is currently in the works to explore extending an existing pipeline from California City to the Indian Wells Valley, which would be funded by a $7.6 million grant from the Department of Water Resources.
Why is the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority looking to purchase state water?
That’s because the authority only has 7,600 acre-feet of natural flow annually while pumping out 28,000 acre-feet of groundwater.
The outflow to inflow discrepancy led the authority to impose a replenishment fee to all groundwater pumpers of $2,130 per acre-foot over a five-year period, which is expected to raise $50 million to be used to purchase more water.