Ground Water Managment

The need for imported water to supplement the area’s dwindling groundwater supply was foreseen as early as 1947. From 1947 until 1965, the Tehachapi Soil Conservation District and the Tehachapi -Cummings Valley Water Conservation District developed basic groundwater and watershed studies. In 1965, TCCWD was formed, replacing the Tehachapi-Cummings Valley Water Conservation District.  In 1966, lawsuits were filed in Superior Court in each of the three groundwater basins: Brite, Cummings and Tehachapi.

Brite Basin, Case No. 97211, was the first to go to trial and the judgment determined:

  •         Safe Yield is 500 acre feet annually;
  •         Prescriptive rights;
  •         No injunction against pumping;
  •         Under continuing jurisdiction of the Court.

Cummings Basin, Case No. 97209, was filed in 1972. Since there was no overdraft at the time of judgment, it was decided that the Court would establish “cutbacks” in the event of future overdraft. The judgment determined:

  •         Safe Yield is 4,090 acre feet annually;
  •         Injunction against exporting water ;
  •         Overlying Rights.

Tehachapi Basin, Case No. 97210 was filed 1971. By 1972, the Tehachapi Groundwater Basin was nearly depleted. In 1973, the amended judgment was filed and determined the following:

  •         Safe yield is 5,500 acre feet annually;
  •         Established annual pumping allocation at 66 2/3% of base water rights (prescriptive right) to equal the safe yield of the basin   including domestic rights in the judgment;
  •         Provided for additional domestic users to pump up to three acre feet per year;
  •         Appointed TCCWD as Watermaster and designated duties, powers, and responsibilities;
  •         Established Exchange Pool as part of the physical solution;
  •         Established necessary rules and regulations;
  •         Injunction against exporting water ;

Recharge/recovery projects have been constructed and are in operation in the Tehachapi and Cummings Basins. It is hoped that use of these recharge/recovery projects will eliminate the need to build costly water treatment plants in the future. Since the inception of the Groundwater Management Program, average groundwater elevations have increased approximately 70 feet.

As we move into the future, TCCWD will continue the groundwater management program in accordance with the judgments in each basin. In addition, TCCWD will become involved not only in groundwater quantity, but groundwater quality in an effort to ensure a safe and adequate water supply for the future.